Who’s in control of your leadership journey?
Most of the time we find ourselves in positions of leadership by accident. We become really good at delivering in our front line role, and before you know we are promoted into management and suddenly the people around us expect us to have this leadership gig all figured out.
This is a pivotal time in your career. You can either put your head down and keep repeating the same behaviours that got you promoted, or you can get curious about what it will take to become the leader you want to be. The successful leaders I have had the honour to work with recognize that new learning is required and they are being called upon to expand their skill set and their mindset. Ignoring this shift can lead to a bumpy road for many new managers and unfortunately this is more the norm than the exception.
Taking control of your own leadership development is smart and courageous. Here is my 5 phase leadership development framework to help you become the leader you want to be.
1. Leadership Vision – get really clear on what kind of leader you want to become. What impact do you want to have? What legacy do you want to leave? How would you like people to describe the impact you had on them? Getting clear on these questions is a powerful starting place for your leadership development journey. This is what you are moving towards as you navigate on a daily basis.
2. Identify Milestones – like any journey, there are key markers and milestones along the way. My favourite question is to ask myself “What do you want to celebrate about your progress one year from now?”. Creating focus for your leadership growth will support you to practice key behaviours and strategies without getting overwhelmed.
3. Who am I? - this step is essential in any leadership journey. As Brené Brown says in Dare to Lead “Who we are is how we lead” so understanding ourselves at a deep level is the starting place. This means understanding our values, strengths, biases, vulnerabilities and blindspots. Not always a comfortable place to explore, but the truth is that we bring our whole selves to leadership, and who we are as human beings impacts our ability to show up for others as a leader. Consider working with a coach or mentor, use assessment instruments and seek feedback from trusted colleagues will support you in this step as you get curious about who you are and how you lead.
4. Learning Plan – being committed to your leadership growth means leaning into a learner mindset. Learning about yourself, the people you lead, the organization’s mission and the external environment are just the starting place. The world we live and work in is changing at a rapid pace and your commitment to learning will support you to stay relevant. If we aren’t learning we are falling behind. Build learning into your schedule and seek out formal and informal learning opportunities that help you reach those milestones.
5. Connection and Community – leadership can be a lonely endeavour, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Connecting to a community of people who can support you in your growth and share the ups and downs of leadership will help you feel less alone, while also giving you an expanded learning network. Whether it is reconnecting to your alma matter, finding a mentor, joining a professional association or calling a few colleagues you trust to create your own mastermind group, make this a priority to have people outside of the office to share with and lean on as you grow and flourish.
Please don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder and offer to map out a leadership development strategy for you. More than likely, it won’t happen. Take the initiative to create your own leadership development plan, and use this framework to become the leader you know you can be. I believe in you!
If you are a leader looking to build trust and inspire action with the people you lead, feel free to download my 50 Questions Inspiring Leaders Ask.