8 Unexpected Ways to Continue to Develop Yourself as a Leader
Leadership isn’t an endpoint; it requires continual find-tuning.
You’re a year or two into your dream leadership role and you know you are capable of more, but you don’t know where to start. After the first months of learning everything you needed to learn about your job you settled in. Yet you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.
You sense that you are capable of even greater success, but you don’t know where to start. You feel like you’ve done everything possible to get to where you are now and you want to achieve your next level of leadership.
As you climb the professional ladder, the spaces available for you become fewer. You are successful, but what else can you do that just might provide you with that edge you need to climb the next rung?
Consider the following:
Reach out to your peers, who are more important to your leadership success than you might think. So often they are forgotten when it comes to relationship-building, and that can hinder your ability to be more successful. Offer to help them, ask them to reciprocate, and get to know them on a personal level.
Develop your direct reports, because those who report to you can help you to become even more successful. Most leaders enjoy this part of their job especially when their efforts result in a team that’s cohesive and effective. You may be surprised that you’ll learn new things when you engage in developing others.
Pay more attention to how you show up as ready to take on that next level of leadership. When you are authentically showing up as ready and able for more responsibility, others notice. Those responsible for your career moves need to see you acting as if you are already there.
Get clear about your strengths and gaps so you can leverage them appropriately. Strengths can be overused, and gaps can prevent you from being as successful as you can possibly be. Get feedback about both of these and create and follow through on an action plan for them.
Broaden your thinking because with each new rung on the ladder, you will need to be more visionary. You can do this by staying out of the weeds of daily work as much as it makes sense for you to do so for the role you are in. Find a mentor who you admire and can help you to find cross-functional projects or introduce you to individuals who will stretch your thinking.
Begin a new hobby because whatever it is, it will stimulate your brain and challenge you to think differently. In some positive way this will impact your leadership. If you are in a technical field, consider stretching yourself with an artistic endeavor such as music or the visual arts.
Take care of yourself since the healthier you are, the better you’ll function. Eat more healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and you’ll see that you’ll be sharper, feel good, and function better at work.
Be considerate of others because the best leaders pay attention not only to getting results, but getting results through people. They notice when people are challenged or struggling and reach out to them to offer assistance. Likewise, they recognize and acknowledge achievements others make.
Leadership isn’t an endpoint. It requires continual find-tuning, sometimes in unexpected ways. The best leaders are on the path of continually developing themselves.
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