6 Steps to become a better leader
As leaders we have a responsibility to become better - not only towards ourselves but also to those we lead. Consider the following 6 steps to become a better leader and start investing in improving your leadership skills today:
Step 1: Define what type of leader you want to be
First, it is important to define where you want to be. If you don't know what you are working towards you will have no context for becoming a better leader. Consider the following quote:
Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire Cat. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the Cat, "It doesn't matter."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland
Read this blog: What does a good leader look like?
Once you have built your leadership model ensure that you are able to clearly define the competencies needed. Also identify behavioural indicators that will help you to determine your level of competence.
Step 2: Assess how you are currently doing
Carefully review each competency and rate yourself:
- Still working on it
- Almost there
- I have mastered this competency
- I am an expert and can coach someone
(You can even ask those working closely with you to give you their opinion).
Step 3: Create your own personal development plan
Consider the results of your assessment and create a written personal development plan for yourself by asking the following questions; "What would you like to improve on?" "What are you planning to do to improve it?" "By when? Who will help you?"
Commit to an area that you would like to improve on. This will allow you to focus on one at a time and it's more realistic and achievable in the whirlwind of your life as a leader.
Step 4: Find a mentor and/or a coach
There are many benefits to partnering with a coach or mentor in your development journey. In my personal experience, I found it helpful to have an accountability partner that ensured I stayed focused on my goals; someone who challenged my way of thinking and encouraged me with their experiences and insight.
Make sure you find an accredited and suitable coach or mentor and remember this is not a once-off discussion - this is someone that you need to see on a regular basis.
Step 5: Create a rhythm to invest and reflect.
Committing to a fixed time every week (even if it is only for an hour or 2) helps you to keep momentum. If you do not create this rhythm for yourself, the day to day urgent matters will take priority and before you know it a month would have passed since you last spent time actively investing or reflecting on areas in which you would like to improve. From time to time re-assess how you are doing and update or adapt your personal development plan.
Step 6: Pay it forward
Do your part to also make other leaders better by offering your help as a coach or a mentor. Assist others to follow this process, share experiences, tips and resources while encouraging each other to keep getting better. Because everybody wins when a leader gets better.
We assist organisations to define the type of leaders they want for their organisation by means of leadership models and competency frameworks. This is followed by determining the development opportunities (through a 360-degree assessment) and providing the organisation with the tools, templates and processes to establish a continuous improvement culture in their business.
We also assist individual leaders in finding a suitable mentor or coach to guide them on their development journey. If you would like to know more about any of these services, please make contact. I look forward to assisting you.
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This article first appeared on my personal blog at lidavanstaden.co.za