I was recently a guest on Empowered Salon Leaders Podcast and Facebook Live, and I was asked a really great question:
“If you want to develop your own leadership, where do you start?”
It is a great question. And I realised that not everyone knows the answer.
As you know, I’m a huge advocate of the importance of developing your own leadership. And that to first lead yourself is really the foundation of leadership. This is what gets you entry to the game of being able to lead others, to be a thought leader, to lead programs and organisations.
Yet the question still remains, how do I develop myself?
One of the key things to recognise is that developing yourself professionally, developing your leadership, is your responsibility. It is not a responsibility of the organisation you work for.
If you want to elevate your practice of leadership, if you want to grow your leadership so that you always have something to offer the people around you, then that is your responsibility. It is your job, your career, and your success after all, so it is up to you to own that. To be accountable for that.
If you are getting support from your organisation to develop your leadership and your skills, then that’s great. That is a bonus so I suggest you take every opportunity.
One of the things that really highlighted to me during 2020, and the pandemic, was the importance of continuing to grow your own capability and your own skillset, because that’s what sets you up to be able to cope with and lead through really significant change and transformation. It helps you to stay the course, and to have a really solid foundation to work from. Even when you’re in unknown and uncertain circumstances, you have a full toolkit on which you can rely.
So, if you’re not sure where to start, and it’s new for you in terms of taking this responsibility for developing yourself. Or perhaps you need to reprioritise your own professional development, here are some ideas about how you can get started to develop yourself.
The starting point is to identify what you want to focus on.
Have you identified a particular area that you would like to grow some skills or capability or knowledge, or is it just general?
If you need some help figuring this out, you can download an ebook I wrote a couple of years ago called the Leadership Stretch, which might help you to narrow your focus for your own development.
Next step, consider your options and opportunities for professional and leadership development.
You can choose one or more of these options for developing your leadership and practice.
There are a huge range of great books on leadership that you can draw from. Some are more academic. Some are more practical. Some are great stories. There’s such a variety.
2. FOLLOW THOUGHT LEADERS
You can follow some great thought leaders on social media, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Clubhouse. Follow people who, you like their style and you like some of the insights that they bring. Or maybe there are people who challenge your thinking. This way you will have a continual source of ideas and information to draw on.
If you are not into social media then choose a couple of newsletters from leadership thought leaders, and then actually read them.
You might even want to put half an hour a week aside to read those newsletters and draw out the great information.
4. FREE STUFF
There is a huge range of complimentary resources available, whether it’s cheat sheets or eBooks or free challenges. There are lots of things that you can tap into that don’t require significant investment or any investment financially. Yes, there is some time required, and that is up to you to manage.
I’ll start you off with a couple of my complimentary resources:
5. COMPLIMENTARY EVENTS
Complimentary events, webcasts, mini master classes are another option. There are a huge number of events to attend online that are complimentary. Often they’re recorded, so even if you’re not available at the time, you can still register and then watch the recording at a time that suits you later on.
6. ONLINE PROGRAMS
Then there are online programs that are a little bit bigger, for example a series of videos. It could be a weekly program for a month or three months or six months or a year. They range from no investment, through to substantial financial investment. Think about what you can commit to, and maybe what your organisation will support.
Also remember, there are other elements to the investment. Consider the time and the energy and the focus that you need to put into a program, and choose something that’s supportable for you.
You don’t have to start big. Start small, and then you might choose to build up from there.
Make sure that you actually prioritise it for yourself too. I know that I’ve made this mistake in the past, which is to sign up to an online program, and then not actually do it. Simply enrolling in the program without follow through, doesn’t get it done.
7. PAID PROGRAMS
Again, there is a big range of paid program options. From self-paced, to scheduled. Some will offer individual options, while some are group-based. Some of them are online, and some are back to face to face. (woohoo!!!)
Some will be intensive, and some will be paced out over time.
So, consider your personal preferences, and focus, and choose something that works for you.
Another option that just comes to mind, is to find a mentor. Someone who you can use as a sounding board, or you can tap into their great wisdom and experience. This is a great opportunity for developing your own leadership.
To recap, remember your personal leadership development is your responsibility.
What is your leadership development agenda for this year?
Still not sure? Here’s a small activity that might help:
⌚ Take some quiet time to reflect.
⏩ Project yourself forward 12 months.
🤔 Imagine what it will be like in 12 months’ time for you…. As the leader you want to grow into…
- How do you want to be operating as a leader at that point?
- What will you be doing as a leader?
- What will you be saying as a leader?
- Who will you be working with as a leader?
- How will you be feeling as a leader, and
- What will you know as a leader, that is different to now?
This reflection will help give you a sense of what is important in terms of your leadership development.
I would love to know what is the one thing that you know is going to help you make progress with your own leadership development this year?
I’d love to know your thoughts.
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AND: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching and leadership: