2021: Questions every growth leader needs to ask themselves

Communication during a crisis is critical.

COVID is a fascinating case study for leadership

While every leader globally has faced the same set of circumstances, we’ve seen leaders respond very differently. Take Donald Trump vs Jacinda Ardern as an example of different ends of the leadership spectrum. Who’s a leader you’ve observed this year, either positively or less positively, whose leadership has meant something to you? What traits have they demonstrated that you’d like to incorporate into your leadership growth for 2021?

For the most part, leadership is learned. Leadership success is a strategy. You can’t change your personality (who you are) but you can flex from your preferred leadership style (how you show up for others). We all have a range of behaviours that align with our thinking preferences and comfort zones in relationships. For example, how we respond in front of our bosses boss will be different to someone from our team. Our leadership growth comes down to how prepared we are to shift our range of behaviours depending on the situation we’re in.

What leadershifts are you going to make in 2021? How do you want to be seen?

Small tweaks can make a big difference. Changing one or two parts of your leadership (changing behaviours I mean) is enough to change perceptions about you.

By focusing on your development and taking the right steps, you’ll exponentially improve your chances of becoming a more effective leader. There aren’t any guarantees but it’s a lot more useful that hoping, wishing, and waiting for things to happen around you. ‘Things’ don’t happen – you make it happen. ‘It’ doesn’t work – you work ‘it’ – Sharon Pearson.

Leadership is journey of self-discovery and growth.

The opportunity is to stop judging the leader you were and focus on being the leader you want to become. This is how to empower yourself. It requires, as a starting point, a shift in your self-image.

You need to update your self-image to align with the goals you’ve set or your current self-image will win

We are always acting in accordance with who we think we are. If you don’t see yourself as a leader at the next level of effectiveness (whatever that looks like for you) your self-image will keep you where you are. That’s why there is often a gap between how others see us and how we see ourselves. For example, if you want to become a better communicator, you first need to see yourself as a more effective communicator, then do the things that provide reference points that validate your updated self-image. If you don’t, you’ll create the habitual gap between what you did and how it should/could have been which will keep your current self-image intact.

You’ve got to let go of the leader you were, to step into the leader you’re becoming

If what we believe about ourselves is all made up, then why not make up stories about yourself that will actually help you step into the leader you want to become? What stories about yourself are worth dumping?

Who is the leader you want to become? 

Your growth depends on you knowing where you’re at; what you want to achieve; what you need to focus on to make progress; and having leadership benchmarks in place to track progress over time. You also need to be aware of what’s getting in your way – including yourself.

Useful insight comes from asking useful powerful questions

Reflecting on your leadership progress this year should inform your leadership development focus for 2021. When you’re able to take a break outside your day to day over your Xmas, take some time to think about your leadership development and what it means for you next year.

90% of leadership is self-leadership. Leadership is an inside job first.

From the insights you generate, think about what your leadership development progress looks like for next year in line with the leader you’re ready to become. Remember that your leadership development success depends on the degree to which you are creating and updating your self-image.

Also remember to take time to celebrate what you’ve achieved this year – that’s important too, especially given the year we’ve had. I’m cheering you on.

Interested in completing a Leadership Self-Review to help you set your leadership focus for 2021? Email me at toni@tonicourtney.com or download at https://tonicourtney.com/resources/.

Here’s to your leadership success in 2021.

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