If you began reading this article because you like to eat fried chicken, or because you enjoy gambling, then I must apologize. This post is about leadership and how to win at it.
We can grab a bucket of chicken, take it to poker night, and have fun saying “Winner winner chicken dinner” on another occasion…
So what is the secret recipe to winning as a leader that is going to earn us that chicken dinner? Is there a Secret Recipe of 11 Herbs and Spices that makes leaders into consistent winners?
Or perhaps is the formula for being a winning leader a bit simpler?
The key to “winning” as leaders is to be constantly learning and improving. (Although actor Charlie Sheen might have another definition of “winning.”) You need to develop yourself and those around you to be a winner.
Just simply know this:
Personal development IS professional development.
What you invest in for yourself can prepare you to use later to invest in other people. However, many leaders seem reactive instead of proactive in dealing with the present and preparing for the future.
- We are in an unprecedented era of change.
- The pace of life and work has never been so dizzying.
- If leaders are not able to adapt to or start change, they may find their leadership outdated.
So what about you? What steps are you taking, or plans are you making, to further your development?
Prepare to Succeed
If leaders are not able to adapt to change, and personally change, they will not be able to sustain their success. Leaders must be preparing for the future to be successful in the future. There are many tools and resources to help leaders prepare themselves for the future.
Start with Exercise
One helpful exercise in better understanding your leadership strengths is called Reflected Best Self (RBS). The exercise involves requesting feedback from those who know you about your leadership strengths, and feedback about times you have excelled as a leader.
Much discussion on leadership development today focuses on whether to try to develop leadership “blind spots” or “gaps,” or whether to instead focus on further sharpening leadership strengths.
Getting Stronger Faster
The RBS exercise emphasizes the benefit of focusing on strengths. Strengths are motivating. While encouragement is motivating, criticism can be draining.
“It is a paradox of human psychology that while people remember criticism, they respond to praise” (Roberts, Morgan, Spreitzer, Dutton, Quinn, Heaphy, and Barker, 2005).
There are many other assessments to help gauge your strengths and preferences. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI] is particularly popular.
Leaders who operate from their strengths are more likely to be successful.
“ . . .Only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence” (Drucker, 1999).
Additionally, self-awareness and self-understanding are important to leadership success. Many leaders do not know their true strengths. Leaders who know themselves, are better able to lead.
“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong” (Drucker, 1999).
In Pursuit of Excellence
Personal and professional development is your responsibility. By pursuing further development and identification of learning opportunities, employees are bringing additional value to their organizations, because organizations must also be improving and adapting to sustain and further their success and growth.
What is the best way to further professional development?
- Academic Education?
How are you developing yourself as a leader?
This may depend on your organization and position. Think strategically about your current leadership and your current role, and then find your desired leadership and desired role. Recognize the steps necessary to get from the present to the desired future. Create a game plan for getting there.
What will you learn this year? How will you improve? Be successful as a leader by constantly learning and improving. Your future success will be partly determined by your efforts today.
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