Posts Tagged ‘learning’
I often hear people say that they would work on their leadership skills if their organization supported them, if they had more time and resources, or any number of other similar (and flimsy) excuses.
Well I say, no more excuses. Here are six steps that anyone can do - no “ifs", "ands”, or "buts".
- Just keep learning. It sounds simple because it is. Look for opportunities to practice your leadership skills (at work or otherwise). Look for situations to practice life skills that apply to your role as a leader. Watch other leaders and think about what they are doing great – and not-so-great (there is learning in both). The opportunities to learn are endless if you open your eyes and mind and start doing it.
- Get some feedback. You can’t lead in a vacuum. After all, you are leading other people. Whether formally or informally, ask people for their feedback on how you are doing. You can ask for general feedback or for feedback on a specific situation. Ask, listen, be open and be thankful. Then be diligent about capturing what you heard so you can go back to review and gain additional perspective. Once you have feedback, then you can decide what action to take or changes to make.
- Self-assess. Close the door, turn off the computer and sit down with a pad (your journal?) and a pen. Spend some time thinking about how you feel about your ability in the various skills needed to lead. If you need a jumpstart, use your organizations’ list of leadership characteristics (if it exists) or start with this list as a guide. Be honest with yourself both on your weaknesses and strengths. Write down your personal assessment as a part of building your plan.
- Work on things you love. What? Shouldn’t we immediately work on the things we aren’t so good at? While you must recognize and work on weaknesses (not to do so is called denial), you must also work on strengths. Think about the things you enjoy or already excel at. Ask yourself how you can get 5% better at those things? The answers to that question (and the actions you take as a result) are an important part of your learning and development strategy.
- Find a mentor. The self-made person is a myth. Even if you could do it alone, why would you want to? Having a mentor will give you new perspectives, fresh advice and will speed your development. This is a great return on some time and a few cups of coffee. Find someone who has perspectives and skills you don’t have and humbly ask for their help. Chances are, they will say yes.
- Avoid comparisons. While easier said than done, this is critically important. We tend to draw comparisons between our weaknesses and the great strengths of others (which we naturally admire). While you should observe and try to learn from others, don’t compare yourself in a way that discourages you or to try to imitate. You are you, and no one will lead exactly as you do – and that is a good thing.
There are hundreds of tools, tactics and to-dos you could employ. Having said that, this is a great place to start because anyone can do these and they require very little economic investment. Not only does this strategy remove the excuses, but it sets the table for any other tools you might apply later.
How about one more resource?
I’ve been in the business of observing, teaching and coaching leaders for over twenty years. After all this time, all the work, all the learning, all the teaching and all the writing, I’ve distilled the key habits of the best leaders into a short teleseminar, The Secrets of Becoming a Remarkable Leader – What the Best of the Best Do.
The best part? It's free.
While we produce and sell several paid teleseminars each month, and will continue to do so, this one is special – it is meant for every leader who is frustrated with their ability to lead, stressed by the complexities of leading, and every leader who wants to get better – for themselves, their team and their organization.
Learn more here and make plans to join me April 25 at 2 pm ET.
When you consider the benefits of becoming a more effective and confident leader, it will be worth the effort.
You are worth the effort.
Continuous learning and its respective implementation to generate desired business outcomes is at the core of successful organizations.
Peter Senge defined a learning organization as the one “where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”
Here are top 10 actions for a leader to create a culture of continuous learning for individuals, teams and hence an organization:
- Drive people to learn by doing. People learn the most when they implement their knowledge to generate meaningful business results.
- Realize that training is just a tool to impart knowledge. Learning is also about sharing lessons, telling stories, doing, making mistakes and improving constantly.
- Align middle managers to create a learning culture, because they are the ones who drive learning, not just the HR team.
- Incorporate learning into your processes. Establish rituals like periodic review meetings and retrospectives to track what went well / what could have gone well.
- Expose your teams to diverse learning resources like books, social media, online videos, working with cross cultural teams/geographies and so on.
- Use technology to accelerate learning and ensure accessibility of knowledge. Great thing is a lot of useful tools like blogs, wikis and forums are free.
- Involve people in important change initiatives to ensure that they learn about managing change (one of the most important learning) and working with diverse set of people.
- Promote the abilities of people to generate alternative ideas and open up to different view points. (Related reading: On Leadership, Opening Up and Being Prepared)
- Move beyond metrics to realize that learning is a long term thing which cannot be measured in numbers. Learning is tacit and visible only through results delivered by team.
- Allow people to make mistakes (and learn from them). People never experiment if they have to pay a price for trying new things out.
Critical Question: What methods have worked for you in ensuring that your team/organization learns constantly, and applies that learning for positive impact on organization/customers?
We're pleased to feature Tanmay Vora today. He's been a great help to us with the book launch and a faithful friend. Tanmay is a blogger, author and quality consultant based in India. He specializes in building constantly improving organization culture via people, processes and leadership. His book #QUALITYtweet offers 140 bite-sized ideas to build a quality oriented culture. Tanmay blogs extensively at QAspire and tweets as @tnvora.
Lately, I've been hearing the same message from a lot of smart people. It's a simple one, one you've likely heard before (of course you have.) It's about reading to learn.
In his book, Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders lists knowledge as one of the three intangibles we can share with our business partners. The way he gains knowledge to share with others is through reading. He often tells audiences that his knowledge isn't inherent; he learns through reading.
Kevin Eikenberry reads pretty voraciously and reviews and recommends a new resource each week in his newsletter. (If you haven't subscribed to his newsletter, why not? It's free. Once you subscribe, it will arrive in your inbox on Monday morning at 7 ET, a great way to begin the week.)
I've always loved to read. In fact, one of my favorite family stories is the one my mom tells about me when I was three. I walked into my older brothers' room and asked "Do you have any books that would be appropriate for a three year old girl?" I've been reading ever since, sometimes more productively than others.
My favorite reading is speeding through a fantastic novel in the space of an afternoon. I'm curled up by the fire, wrapped in a blanket or I'm stretched out on a beach towel, soaking in some sun.
The most productive reading I do, though, is reading to learn. I have my journal and pen in hand and I am taking notes to reinforce my memory. This is the kind of reading that will make the most difference for us all as we seek to grow as leaders and in our careers.
What are you reading to learn? Books, blog posts, articles? What do you do to ensure that you are continually learning and so you can add value to others? Feel free to share in the comments; I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I encourage you to come back to this blog throughout the week. We'll have some great content for you to learn from. And, if you are a member of our book community, check out our question of the week and join the conversation for even more learning. If you're not a member of our book community, buy a book and join today!
Today's post is a post I wrote for the Women of HR blog. It is reposted here with permission.
I am posting it here today for a few reasons. The most important reason I share it is to encourage you to share your stories in our new forum. We want to gather stories about your leadership transition because stories are powerful vehicles for growth. Stories help us think about our experiences and the lessons we can draw from them. When you share your story, you will learn. When you share your story, others will learn. To access the forum, you must register in our community as a book member. Follow the instructions on page 5 of From Bud to Boss. Don't have the book? Buy one from your favorite online retailer today.
Maribeth and I started our new positions on the same day.
We vaguely knew each other from our previous work in the organization. To celebrate, we decided to go to lunch.
Over salads, we began to build a friendship. Though we each got busy with work, we regularly set aside time to check-in with each other.
Our offices were adjacent, so we saw each other at the office and chatted frequently. We didn’t see each other outside of work, but we enjoyed a close working relationship.
Until our organization posted an opening for a new supervisor position in our department, until she was selected from a group of interviewees, including me and others in our department, until she became my supervisor.
On that day, there was no celebratory lunch and laughter over salads. There was only me, sulking in my office, disappointed over a lost opportunity.
It went downhill from there. I resented having her review and approve my work. I questioned her decisions, not publicly, at least, but internally. I smugly told myself that I would have been a better choice. I avoided contact with her at all cost, interacting with my previous supervisor as much as possible; using the excuse that Maribeth wasn’t available.
With the perspective of years, I wonder how her transition to leadership affected her. Was she as uncomfortable with her new role as we, her former peers, were? What effect did our attitudes have on her experience? What training and guidance did she receive? Who celebrated with her on the day of her promotion? Who did she socialize with once she became a supervisor? Did she ever regret being the one chosen?
I am certain of this - in her position, I would not have known how to relate to my former colleagues. I would have been unsure of how to give guidance and direction to friends. I would have longed for someone to help me through the awkward transition, for a handbook to refer to, a training to attend, and a circle of support around me.
Have you ever experienced the awkwardness of a friend’s promotion? What affect did it have on your relationship? Have you experienced a difficult transition to leadership in your organization? What resources helped you?