Leadership Development Training

Reflecting on some bigger questions is essential to improve leadership skills

Are you achieving your leadership goals?

As summer approach, I often coach managers and leaders to take stock of where they are at with achieving their goals for the year.  I have written previous articles on the more “tangible” aspects of performance management.  I do recommend that managers and leaders set and track performance goals and objectives.  But it’s important to remember that organizations are more than a collection of processes and outputs.  There are many aspects that are intangible, but critical to long term success.  Consider aspects such as workplace culture and values, trust, innovation, collaboration… So reflecting on these deeper issues is necessary to improve leadership skills.

Keep asking questions

For those of us (including myself!) that have been conditioned to focus on “hard” skills and tangible outputs – it’s sometimes hard to even know what to look for when it comes to these other aspects!  The important thing is to start asking yourself questions.  And this will often lead to more questions.  Reflecting on leadership skills takes time and a willingness to not stop at the seemingly obvious answer.

Start with yourself

As you may be aware, good leaders need to be self aware.  You can’t effectively manage others unless you understand your own strengths, weakness, biases, etc.  And you are unlikely to be effective if you are burned out, stressed or distracted.  So here’s a few questions to get you started:

Am I physically well?  Emotionally well?

Some signs that you may be suffering stress or burnout might include: irritability, difficulty with concentration, difficult making decisions, avoiding difficult conversations, outbursts, exhaustion, poor eating habits, not enough quality sleep, avoiding exercise.

If this is the case, ask yourself – where can I find more work/life balance?  How can I take better care of myself?  Check out some of my articles on managing stress in the workplace.

Am I leveraging my strengths?

First of all, you need to be aware of your strengths.  Too often, we focus on our weaknesses and put so much energy into trying to fix ourselves.  Or, we may be trying to copy leadership styles which just don’t suit us.  Any time we try to be something we are not, it drains us.  And chances are, others may feel we are not sincere.  There are many styles of leadership, so find one that aligns with your own strength and nature.  Check out my article about building on strengths for leadership development.

Am I investing in my learning and development?

In this busy world, we often put ourselves last.  But you can’t improve leadership skills without continuous learning.  Check out my article from earlier this year on how to create a leadership development plan.

What is it that I want for my career?  What’s important to me?

You need to think about WHY you are doing what you do.  What value do you get from it?  Where is it taking you?  What experiences do you need?  In short, you need to understand what motivates you.  And how can you bring more of that into your leadership role?

Carve out some time for reflection

This can be very difficult to do in a busy work environment .  But try to put some space in your calendar once a week, and find a quiet spot where you wont’t be interrupted.  Get a journal to record your thoughts.  Sometimes we need to let those deeper questions “percolate” in our subconscious.  So coming back to the questions once a week or so can give you new insights.

Build Your Strategic Management Skills

Learn at your own pace, and from anywhere!  The Strategic Manager Learning System lets you work at your own pace, but always with the support of your instructor – just an email away!  Even 30 minutes per week on a consistent basis can help you improve your leadership and management skills.