We’ve all heard it, “Be a leader!” The question is: how do you enhance your leadership skills and gain new ones in the shortest amount of time?
There are many ways to improve your mark as an effective and influential leader. Some approaches are conventional like attending formal training classes; some are often nonconventional like skills gained through experience. Either way, you know that taking the first step towards improvement is essential to your success. The fact is that most of us need to step back once in a while to reassess our own performance.
If you are seeking the simplest strategy to improve your leadership skills, then be sure to treat yourself to a bit of dedicated time to find it. Once committed, you are on your way towards a stronger, faster you. Typically, thirty days is a good period of time to realize results and reach a substantial milestone in your development. Take the thirty day challenge. Why not four weeks? The reason is that it is best to take a day at a time and not a week at a time to develop and grow as a professional.
Days 1-7: You are now ultimately ready to initiate the transformation. To start, let’s go over several facilitating habits. First, be patient with yourself and commit to studying various leaders and their approaches with an open mind. There are many sources of short and informative articles on leadership. Select two or three articles of interest per day. Second, consider accepting differing perspectives and third, focus on the big picture. Combined these habits with a firm assessment of what success looks like at the end of thirty days and you will form a strong core for your leadership development goal. Gain new Knowledge.
Days 8-14: Now focus your energy on consistently evaluating performance from varying points of view. Involve the team. Understand the issues at hand and focus your efforts on self and team improvement. One of the biggest blunders most people make is focusing on themselves throughout this process and foregoing their team for another day. Often, that day never comes. It is but for the team that the leadership opportunity exists therefore, all self-improvement initiatives must be with the intention of ultimate team enhancement. Determine the organizational performance gaps.
Days 15-21: With the gaps in hand, ask for help from your team to close them. Collaborate. The gaps you identified initially may or may not be the ones that will drive enhanced performance. Validate. Purposefully implement and encourage a culture of inclusiveness. Create a common cause and a culture of buy-in. Offer your team a target, a goal, something to shoot for in this short period of time. Be the energy delivery device they expect. Lead a culture of diversity and inclusion.
Days 21-28: Make decisions, leaders do that. Explain your rational for the decision to your team. Be decisive. Your team will reward the sense of stability and vision. Paint the future as you see it with their help. They are the diverse pallet of paint and the paint brushes. Your company is the canvas. You are the artist. Your clients/customers are the art collectors. Adapt this line of thinking. Your team will follow. Establish expectations of excellence.
Days 29 & 30: Evaluate. Encourage. Prepare for what is next… an enhanced leader experience that facilitates higher organizational performance, focuses on understanding change management, diversity and inclusion and excellence by design. Reflect, regroup, recharge, and grow.
Gaining new knowledge, the keen ability to identify performance gaps, leading through diversity and inclusion, establishing expectation of excellence, reflecting, regrouping and recharging are markers from some of the greatest leaders on the planet, past and present.
Often, breaking down the elements to their simplest form creates clarity and the promise of achievable results in a relatively short period of time.
Day 31: Mission accomplished.
Dare to think differently.
About the author: J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP, is the CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC and a global Fortune 100 senior manager. In 2013, Rodriguez was honored to be selected by EHS Today as one of "The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2012-2013." He also is an entrepreneur, a patented inventor, an engineer, a certified safety professional, a professional and empowering speaker, a credentialed instructor for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a board member of the national Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association, author of the book "Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment" and an overall great guy.