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


Forbes

Debunking The Myth About Secrets To Successful Leadership
Forbes
I get asked this question a lot, including just the other day: "What is your secret to leadership?" The answer may be disappointing. There is no secret. The problem is that people often see leadership as some aspirational thing that anyone can do. They ...



John Kerry on Leadership, Compromise, and Change
Harvard Business Review
John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State, shares management and leadership lessons from his long career in public service. He discusses how to win people over to your side, bounce back from defeats, and never give up on your long-term goals. He also ...



INSEAD Knowledge

Crafting Your Own Leadership Signature
INSEAD Knowledge
How well can you adapt in an exponentially changing world? In an age where even Silicon Valley disruptors struggle to keep up, it is more critical than ever for leaders to know themselves. Otherwise how can they learn and develop? Or create a dream ...



Pacific Standard

Masculine Traits Are Still Linked to Leadership
Pacific Standard
In two studies, "both women and men saw communality as relatively unimportant for successful leadership," write psychologists Andrea Vial of Yale University and Jaime Napier of New York University–Abu Dhabi. Participants approved of qualities like ...

and more »


Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

Why closing the technology leadership gap matters
Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)
We explored this lack of technology leadership in a recent national survey and found a lack of focus on soft skills among technologists, such as verbal and written communication and collaboration, is a primary reason that technology talent may not be ...



Customer Think

ALERT: Leadership Training for Supervisors Is Being Disrupted
Customer Think
To be intentional and proactive in their response, executives are investing in the transformation of their training courses in leadership for supervisors because the frontline is where the customer-centric battle will be won. Most often, contact center ...



Feminine leadership traits: Nice but expendable frills?
Science Daily
Despite expectations that stereotypically feminine leadership traits like communality will define 21st century leaders, the higher up we look across different types of organizations, the fewer women we find. A new study exploring this apparent ...

and more »


Philadelphia Business Journal

Build competitive advantage through servant leadership & continuous improvement
Philadelphia Business Journal
In an April 2013 article in The Washington Post headlined, “Servant leadership, a path to high performance,” Edward D. Hess at the University of Virginia wrote that his research found that “leaders [of high performing companies] were servants in the ...



Seeking Alpha

BlackBerry Under John Chen's Leadership
Seeking Alpha
Total year-over-year revenues indicates a decline, however excluding legacy businesses, year-over-year revenues increased. Adoption of ASC606 during 1Q 2019 caused a dramatic quarter-over-quarter revenue decline partially offset by increases in ...



The Guardian

The Guardian view on Saudi Arabia: in need of new leadership
The Guardian
The reigns of Saudi kings in recent decades have been dominated by health concerns rather than navigating foreign and domestic turbulence. Leaders can lose their minds in office. But rarely do they gain top positions when they have already lost the plot.
Nine issues Mike Pompeo could press the Saudi leadership on while he is in RiyadhWashington Post
Wall Street CEOs Show True Leadership In The Khashoggi CaseForbes
Nine issues Mike Pompeo could press the Saudi leadershipManhattan Mercury
CNN -STLtoday.com
all 8,110 news articles »

Google News

home | site map
© 2007