Leadership Information


Are You Playing or Practicing Leadership?


Anne was a new supervisor, and like many new supervisors she took the new role as a manager and leader seriously. She took advantage of training that was offered to her. She learned how to do performance reviews effectively, listened to other leaders to learn from them. She read several books recommended to her by others.

More importantly she tried hard to apply what she was learning. Anne was practicing leadership.

When we are diligent in practicing anything we are consciously practicing our skills. We are trying things again and again to get better. We are focused on fundamentals. Something happens to many of us though when we begin to get comfortable with our new skills - whether they are leadership skills or sewing skills or tennis skills. We stop practicing and start playing.

What is the difference?

When we can consistently get the tennis serve in, we tend to want to play matches more than to continue to practice that serve. Once we have the sewing basics down (or so it seems) we want to make something. In both cases our focus moves to something other than getting better - because that is what "practice" is for.

Are you playing or practicing leadership?

This question applies to brand new supervisors and experienced leaders. If you want to improve your skills as a leader you have to practice, not just play. Here are five things you can do to continue to practice your leadership skills.

Be a continuous learner. We practice to get better. Anne as an eager (and maybe scared) new leader was like a sponge. She soaked up everything she could learn about leadership. Practice requires new information and knowledge, be it in the form of advice from a person, a book, or observation. Remain open to new ideas and then consciously integrate them into your leadership activities.

Get feedback. If you are practicing a sport, you expect a coach to give you feedback on your progress. Your practicing of leadership should be no different. Many organizations have a 360 process that allows leaders to get feedback from those they lead. This feedback can be valuable, but you can get feedback without this formal process. Ask people how you are doing. Ask them specific questions about specific situations. At first they may not provide you much information, but if you consistently ask and obviously value the input (by doing something with it over time); you will get more insights from people. Get feedback from other leaders as well. Build a network of people you can get ideas and feedback from.

Reflect. You can read, ask and do all sorts of things to collect ideas and approaches. All of it is valuable. But none of that can be applied effectively without you taking time to reflect on it and determine what will work for you and why. The best practice includes a chance to personally reflect on your work. As a speaker and trainer, I take time after every workshop, seminar or speech to reflect on what I did, why I did it, what I would do again, what I should adjust, etc. The same process is necessary for us as leaders. Be mindful of your results. Review them in your mind. Make decisions for "next time." Without a commitment to reflection you will always compromise the benefits you can gain from practice.

Try new things. The learning, feedback and reflection will be of no tangible use unless you do something with it. A practice mindset allows you to try a different approach. If you are playing tennis you might be afraid to try the new technique for fear it might backfire. But the new technique becomes less risky when you have practiced it over and over. Find your lower risk opportunities to try new things. And try things that aren't risky often. By being willing to try the new approach you will make real progress. After all, if you never try anything new, how will you get better at anything, including leadership?

Use your skills in other situations. Practice in most contexts is a lower risk situation. One of the best ways to practice leadership is to find other areas of life in which to lead. Volunteer to lead a project in your community. Organize a neighborhood event. Lead a group at your church. Apply all of the things you are trying to learn at work in these situations. Use these as opportunities not only to do something valuable, but as your own personal leadership learning laboratory.

Taking these steps will help you to remain a leadership learner. They will keep you fresh and on your game. They will keep you practicing, and not just playing leadership.

Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp to learn more and subscribe.


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Washington Post

Fortune just named the 'World's 50 Greatest Leaders.' Only one current US elected official is on it
Washington Post
Fortune Magazine released its fifth annual list of who it deems the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," and for the first time, there's not a single name at the top of the list. Rather than naming a CEO, a pope or a baseball executive to top the annual ...
Fortune's World's Great Leaders ListFortune

all 38 news articles »


Quartz

James Comey's new book "A Higher Loyalty" offers four key lessons in leadership
Quartz
In the midst of the Twitter attacks by Donald Trump and his unceremonial firing by the US president in 2017, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that in his 30-plus year career, James Comey prosecuted mafia members, worked in the private sector as the ...

and more »


Council on Foreign Relations (blog)

Working on World Order: Help Wanted for Twenty-First Century US Leadership
Council on Foreign Relations (blog)
To help address the myriad challenges stemming from technological innovation and automation, the Council on Foreign Relations recently released an Independent Task Force report, The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First ...



Singularity Hub

How Thought Leadership Inspires Action With Ideas
Singularity Hub
Denise Brosseau believes that leading in today's complicated world requires clarity of intention, voice, and focus. In essence, it requires thought leadership. In Denise's view, thought leadership isn't just about being famous or being known, it's ...



Forbes

The Reality And Rewards Of Leadership
Forbes
Leadership articles are a dime a dozen. I should know, I read them daily and I write them. Most of them are uplifting and inspiring, discussing things like authenticity, trust and transparency. That's why I read them and I unapologetically love them ...



Forbes

The Secrets Of Leadership Presence For Every Woman Leader
Forbes
By: Ellen Keithline Byrne, Karen Kirchner, and Denise D'Agostino. You know that woman who walks into the room, delivers a message and everyone's eyes are glued to her, listening to every word? She stands tall, even if she's 5' in height. She commands ...



Forbes

3 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Southwest Airlines Pilot Tammie Jo Shults
Forbes
Despite discrimination and resistance, Shults remained courageously focused on her goal, an essential leadership skill that paved the way for women far beyond the aviation industry. 3. Show your team you genuinely care about their well-being. A good ...
Heroic Southwest Airlines Pilot Tammie Jo Shults Just Displayed 4 Keys to Remarkable LeadershipInc.com

all 309 news articles »


Harvard Business Review

The Best Leaders See Things That Others Don't. Art Can Help.
Harvard Business Review
I don't often start essays about leadership with insights from French novelists, but in this case it seems appropriate. “The real act of discovery,” Marcel Proust wrote, “consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Today the most ...



Quartz

Jeff Bezos found a leadership lesson in a friend's quest for the perfect handstand
Quartz
In his annual letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos addressed the subject of high standards, including the importance of knowing what they look like, and how much work is required to reach them. Since Amazon's customers are never satisfied ...
EX-99.1 - SEC.govSEC.gov

all 305 news articles »


The Hill

Restoring American diplomacy starts with leadership at home
The Hill
April marks the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. The creation of an enlightened and visionary State Department, the Marshall Plan rebuilt war-torn Europe, resuscitated markets for U.S. exports, and thwarted communist expansion, at the cost of ...


Google News

home | site map
© 2007