All Leadership is Learned

I’ve had really good managers.

I’ve also had some not-so-good managers.

I’m guessing you have too.

No one is a natural born leader. All leadership is learned.

Until you consciously develop yourself as a leader, your team will struggle and you will struggle watching them struggle.

Here are four strategies you can implement—right away—to develop your leadership style:

(1) Communicate a Compelling Vision: Your job (as a leader) is to communicate a clear path forward. Your team should clearly understand where you want to go and why it is important.

  • Do you take the time to share your vision?  If so, is it clear?
  • Do you involve others in defining the specific goals to achieve your vision?
  • Do you explain to your team, in detail, why and how your vision will both improve the business and benefit them in return?

Now is the perfect time to include your team in strategic planning sessions. Share your thoughts. Solicit their feedback. Get their input. Collectively define goals that everyone buys into. When your team knows what you want and why you want it, gaining their support becomes easier.  

(2) Serve as a Role Model: Effective leaders act the way they want their team to act. The best leaders set a positive example for their team. As a result, others want to emulate their behavior.

  • Do you walk the walk and talk the talk?
  • Do your habits embody the character traits you ask others to display?
  • Do you show up on time, prepared, and engaged?

Human behavior is contagious, both effective and ineffective. Good leaders know the routines they model get repeated. They know they are responsible for the behavior they exhibit, the leadership style they display, and the daily habits they choose to model.

(3) Learn from Mistakes: Face it—nobody is perfect and everyone has made a mistake or two. The most effective leaders know that the key to success is learning from their mistakes.

  • What mistakes have you made? What have you learned?
  • Are you willing to put your ego aside and share those experiences with your team?
  • Do you allow your team the freedom to experiment? If so, do you extract lessons from their experiences and provide constructive insight and feedback?

People learn from taking action, from the mistakes they make, and from the feedback they receive. When you teach others what you yourself are learning, you help others navigate similar challenges they may face.

(4) Become a Consistent Student: Great leaders continue to improve themselves—in every possible way.

  • Do you dedicate time to develop yourself—regularly?
  • Do you consistently study others who have achieved success in a similar role?
  • Do you actively seek out advice and input from others?
  • Do you have a learning library? If not, start one. It will change your life!

The person who thinks they are an expert, in reality, has a lot more to learn. Never stop learning. Leaders are teachers. To be a great teacher, you must become a great student. Are you?

Leadership is a learned skill.

Want help developing your team’s leadership style in 2019? Email me to schedule an exploratory discussion.