Over the years, Leadership Development programs have cost organizations very slowly. Companies can be providing their leaders with the tools, but more often than not, nothing much changes in the day-to-day results. As with the old proverb "you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink", you can provide great leadership development and training, but if the leaders themselves have not been encouraged to take responsibility for their personal learning and growth, it could end up being a futile exercise.
It can no longer be a "who owes who" development, it has to be a joint effort to succeed.
Great leaders are constantly looking and wanting to learn. To build the wisdom, knowledge, humility and passion needed to be a great leader, they have to decide that a commitment to continuing learning and self-awareness is worthwhile. Those that you respect as great leaders have had to do that to get "where they are today", but also understand that there’;s always more to learn!
There are so many resources available to leaders today – books, webinars, articles, training. But how much of what you read and hear about is ever practiced back in the real world? How much do you say you want to integrate into your leadership style but never do? How much of it actually successfully impacts the results of your team, productivity, customer service? You see all the benefits, but when you’;re faced with the normality of your working day, not much of your leadership style changes.
Every good leader has to get to the stage where they say that they are the one that has to be responsible to become self-aware, look inside themselves and decide that they are committed to being the best they can be. To be able to motivate, engage and influence others, you need to be able to motivate, engage and influence yourself. It has to come from inside: when you start to believe that developing yourself will make a big difference to you personally and those who work with and for you, it feels really worth.
To encourage leaders (including yourself and those you want to develop for the future), I believe that self-evaluation and self-awareness are the first steps, on which the leadership development tools available can then be practiced and acted more effectively.
Here are a few suggestions that could help get this self-development started. Many of these are based on our basic motivational triggers, which help drive our desire to learn and change.
- What is the purpose of your role? Clearly define the purpose (organizational direction, team objectives, change management, day-to-day business). This helps to establish a sense of meaning, connection and a desire to contribute to success.
- What are the benefits of you being an inspiring and influential leader? Whose experiences could you improve on a daily, weekly, annual, life-time basis? And why would that be worthwhile?
- Do you want to make a difference and if so, how? What would you like to be remembered for as a leader?
- Who has been an inspiring leader in your life (can be work, sport, friends), what impact did they have on you and which of their behaviors would you like to develop and incorporate into your personal style? Being the best version of you is highly motivated, and becoming that takes time and commitment to learning.
- When you take responsibility for your own development, how will that resulting autonomy feel different?
- What motivates you personally, what triggers your behaviors, how and why do you handle situations (including conflict) in the way that you do? Self-awareness then helps you understand and appreciate the diversity of others.
Are you a leader worthy of respect from your team? Do you want to take responsibility for your own success and develop your own plan for learning and growing as a leader, so that you and those around you are positively affected?