This is the second installment of my “How to become a good leader” series. It definitely makes sense to read the first part where I speak about the importance of crafting your leadership vision. In case you didn’t read the first article, I want to stress again that this is my subjective view and I am well aware that our points of view could differ. This is totally okay and I don’t claim to know everything or be the best leader. I am happy if you challenge me in my thoughts, so I can grow and learn =).
Today I want to talk about how we can plan on developing our skills. That is actually something I took up from my time as a soccer player when I played for the youth team of a quite good club in Berlin. Back then, we were presented with one or two elements we were going to focus on for the next 2-4 weeks. For example, long balls with your strong and weak foot. We practiced this over and over and over, because only repetition helps to make it seconds nature.
The same can be done with developing skills. I mean there are countless leadership skills a good leader should possess. From active listening to appreciative inquiry, to delegating, coaching, enabling, managing conflicts etc. The list is long. I would recommend to pick one or two and to make a plan how you want to implement them during the next 4 weeks. What should be the outcome at the end? What would be a success? Please ask your team for feedback in the end. You can also tell them about your plan at the start, so they are more aware of your behaviors in that direction and may be able to provide better feedback. But it can also be advantageous to not tell them. Still, gather feedback at the end. If everything worked out as planned, then perfect. If not, adjust and see how the next 4 weeks are going.
Brick by brick you will create your own leadership house and who knows maybe you are working on building a palace =).
To make sure your plan is sound, read a lot, talk to people who already show the desired behavior and inquire about challenges, tips, and tricks. Also, write down your behaviors. Not only that you want to be a better listener, but for example that you will make sure that you don’t interrupt the other person or that you will be able to recall everything he/she has said after the conversation is over. This makes it not only more tangible but also easier for your team to assess it in the end.
And always keep in mind that we are all unique individuals. Something that works wonders with one person might not work at all with another. This means that you should be a) patient because maybe one or two people are not enough to tell whether you did well or not and b) stay curious and try out different methods.
What do you think about this?
Take care, Stephan