Being a leader isn’t easy. You’re judged on how you react and respond in every interaction.
For the most part, leadership is learned – leadership success is a strategy. 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.
‘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. Careers aren’t made in straight lines. 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 can inform your focus for next year.
Go somewhere quiet with no distractions and take some time to self-reflect on the six leadership areas contained the Leadership Self-Review (link below). It’s important to be honest and to see yourself accurately, with no ego in the feedback you’re prepared to give yourself.
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 are 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.