There is a famous saying - “Leadership cannot be taught but it can be learned.” So how does one go about learning something that cannot be taught? Many individuals and corporations have struggled with this very paradigm.
In the past, a great number of corporations would fall into the trap of taking very skilled individual contributors and place them in leadership roles, thinking that if they are good at what they do now they will be able to teach them the leadership skills required to succeed in a management position. This is why countless dollars were spent sending managers to leadership conferences and summits at fancy hotels with very little to show for it.
What can a person that is joining the workforce or is somewhat stuck in their career progression do to enhance their personal leadership skills and stand out from the crowd? This is the question that many people are struggling with today. The answer is a combination of understanding some of the fundamentals of personal leadership, getting real feedback on your strengths and weaknesses and creating a personal strategy that will enable you to address those weaknesses and highlight your strengths.
An easy and free way to do this is to solicit feedback. Take the time to talk to your current managers and other leaders in your organization and ask them for a real input. The key here is to graciously accept feedback and make the other side comfortable enough to want to provide it regularly. Ask for examples and try to have them be specific as possible – this is the most constructive type. Next, take the feedback and reflect on the things that were said. Do you see any patterns forming? Are there specific scenarios or events that are being highlighted? What constructive messages were given? Do you agree with these? The next step is to develop ideas and a plan that will help you make course corrections. None of this advice is revolutionary – the problem is most people never bother executing on it.
In our attempt to change this – The Bottom Three is organizing “offsites” where individuals can get-away from the daily grind and take a few days to reflect on the bigger picture. Through hands on activities and scenario based projects we will demonstrate the important concepts of personal leadership, how to setup and get honest feedback and help create actionable plans that individuals can take back to their daily life. It is like a health check for your career. Feel free to visit our website if you are interested in learning more about upcoming offsites.
At the end of the day, getting away and attending an offsite will not make you a leader – it is what you do when you get back. No matter how you slice it, the individuals that will succeed in today’s environment will be the ones that can master personal leadership and they must begin this journey through self-inspection and feedback. Organizations like The Bottom Three can help you along through offsites and such offerings but one can easily learn the skills themselves by reading great leadership books from your local library and taking on experiences in your daily life that challenge you to be better. The key is taking each piece of feedback, each learning experience and allowing yourself to make the changes that will force you to grow and eventually all this growth will enable you to stand out from the crowd.