Leadership takes enormous work and successful growth as a leader takes ownership for the internal work as well as external effort that is required to achieve it. Below are the 5 key steps you should be taking to make it as a successful leader.
1. Do Your Homework - Often as leaders we look at the next title in the hierarchy of our organization as our growth goal, and then set a deadline for when we want to achieve it. And that is fine in so much as having a target. However what is important is to gain a deeper understanding of the skills and competencies required for that next role. These may be different from yours and can include gaining exposure to key geographies for your business that you haven't yet worked in, managing leaders rather than managers, expanding your ability to inspire a team behind a vision. Identify which new skills and competencies you need to acquire, then make these a part of your development plan for success.
2. Experiential Learning - The most impactful development opportunities are experiential. So if you need to gain more exposure working with key markets, request a project or assignment that gives you the opportunity to do so. And set some key KPIs for yourself with your manager to measure success. And track them.
3. Find Yourself a Mentor - Mentors can be a key enabler in your success. Take the time to find someone you trust and admire who has walked the path you are on. Tap into their wisdom and experience to gain insights on how they have overcome challenges you are facing. And remember, you drive the relationship, so be proactive about how and when you interact with your mentor.
4. Leverage Training as a Supplement - Workshops and classroom training is best leveraged as a supplement to experiential learning and mentorship. By itself training has the lowest ROI with only about a 10% impact on your personal development. Unless it is tailored to include both experiential elements and mentorship. So choose your training wisely.
5. Do the Internal Work - Indeed the DOING of homework, experiential learning, mentorship and training can have a real impact on your path to that successful promotion. However, it is just "ticking the boxes" if you aren't prepared to challenge who you are BEING. So take a deeper dive into your own values and perceptions, limiting beliefs or unconscious biases. The more you begin to know yourself and evolve, the more authentic your leadership becomes. And this is where the magic happens.
In the end, leadership is a journey with various stops along the way.
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