Most companies nowadays have a leadership development program in place. This is because it’s been a proven way to get an internal pool of talent for running a company. This is a lot cheaper than going outside of the company to headhunt a professional manager. The problem is that like all types of educational programs, leadership development isn’t an automatic solution.
There need to be several factors in play for it to work the way it’s supposed to. It is important to note that participation in a leadership development program means you’re earmarked for a promotion – this is why some people want to be able to get the most out of such programs. If you’re one of those people, here’s a few hints on what you should be focused on:
1) Be open-minded – One of the hallmarks of being a good student of a leadership development program is being open-minded. Leaders are flexible individuals – they are able to accept most situations and turn it into their advantage. There’s an emphasis on this during training and hopefully you manage to absorb it into your work ethic. Being open-minded means more than being able to accept changes in your work environment – this also means that you should be open to the chance that you ar mistaken. Negative feedback helps you improve and make you more efficient as a leader.
2) Be a planner – Another thing that leadership training emphasizes is planning. Good planning will almost always assure you of a positive for any situation that you are in. You will not believe how difficult it is to plan sometimes. This is because most people prefer to take things as they come. This is mostly because most of the time we have a laid-back culture. Leadership training does the opposite. It will encourage you to plan – you’re not an employee anymore, which means you have to worry about more than yourself. Goal and problem identification, brainstorming solutions and implementation will be focused on in this part of the program.
3) Being pro-active – Leadership isn’t just about spouting orders left and right. Leadership is about being an active part of the process. This is what is called “leading from the front”. Haven’t you had that energizing feeling when your boss pulled up his sleeves and got down and dirty? Inspirational leadership goes hand-in-hand with active leadership. Don’t be passive and sit behind the desk all day; admittedly it’s a part of your job but going into the trenches and getting active feedback from your subordinates and gauging the morale of the group is also part of that. Learn to connect with people in a way that establishes a rapport, making you easily approachable. Also, familiarizing yourself with what your people are working with is a great way to win over your team.
Leadership development isn’t exactly a snap but it can be condensed into these three things. Try to work on them and you’ll be well on your way to the title of the “Boss of the Year”.