Six steps to get your leadership improvement journey started
You set business goals and monitor the metrics, but are you doing the same for your leadership development? The quality of your leadership is probably one of the biggest levers you have to impact your team and their results. In fact, a widely accepted fact that people quite bosses, not companies, points to how important good leadership is.
What are you working to improve? Have you set leadership goals with metrics and feedback loops to check your progress daily or weekly? Without clearly defined goals, it’s easy to get lost in the urgency of the day and, before you know it, negative stuff starts happening. At best, passive aggressive behaviors show up; at worst, good people resign.
Leadership is an intentional process. It takes effort because it requires you to consider another person’s perspective and needs, team relationships, inter-team relationships, expectations, and so much more. Plus, to improve you need to venture outside of your comfort zone and lead people that are different than you, with different needs and expectations. It will not be obvious to you.
Six Steps to get started:
- Build a list of what you think is important for you, as a leader, to be good at or use my list below.
- Rate yourself on each item on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being awesome.
- Consider the gap if you’re not a 5, yet. First, consider what would you need to do to be a 5? Ask for feedback. Discuss with a team member, mentor or coach.
- Identify one thing you can do daily (or weekly) to move closer to a 5 and set a behavioral goal (make is SMART. For example, I will ask 3 coaching questions to solicit insight and understanding before giving direction 3 times each day this week.).
- Keep track and reflect: Use a simple method to tally when you do it, like check marks on a sticky note, and make note of when you don’t. Be your own coach and ask, “What worked? Why? Or why not?” “What stories in your head stopped you? What new stories are you writing or need to write?”
- Celebrate success: decide in advance how you will reward yourself when you achieve your goal. My favorites are a brisk walk, a coffee, lunch out, or a new book.
Keep your leadership attributes list and SMART goals visual and review daily. Experiment and adjust. New habits take time to integrate so go easy on yourself. Share with your team and peers what you are working on and ask for feedback.
Developing your leadership skills is not difficult and there is no lack of content or ideas to help you improve (for inspiration check out my Top 10 books for leaders). You need to believe that simple new habits can and will transform your relationships, your team, and your company. Consider the consequences of being an unself-aware leader vs. the benefits of being an improving leader. Hopefully, this will provide you the motivation for disciplined implementation of new behaviors.
Remember – you don’t need to be perfect; you just need to keep experimenting and growing.
8 Attributes that make a good leader.
Pick 3 attributes and determine one new behavior that will help you improve this attribute. Be sure to make it a SMART goal. Not sure where to start? Ask your team – they know your gaps.
- Set clear goals and expectations: A leader must establish clear and measurable goals for their team, and provide the resources and support needed to achieve them.
- Communicate effectively: A manager must be able to clearly articulate goals and expectations to their team and be able to listen actively to their concerns and feedback.
- Build trust: Trust is the foundation of effective leadership. Managers must earn trust from their team by being transparent, consistent, and dependable.
- Lead by example: Managers must demonstrate the behavior and work ethic that they expect from their team.
- Encourage growth and development: Managers must provide their team with opportunities for growth and development, both professionally and personally.
- Foster collaboration and teamwork: Leaders must create an environment that encourages teamwork, cooperation, and open communication among team members.
- Empower and delegate: Effective leaders trust and empower their team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work. They must also be skilled at delegating tasks and responsibilities to ensure that work is being done efficiently and effectively.
- Make tough decisions: Effective leaders can make difficult decisions and take accountability for the outcomes. No blaming or whining allowed. They must balance the needs of the team with the needs of the organization.