You know those mall maps that have the little circle that says You Are Here … well when I think about talent development and working on becoming a better leader, I think it all starts at that map. (And I suppose you will come to know that I am a sucker for a cute dress, so a mall analogy works nicely for me too!)
Anyway … if you don’t know where you are, how in the world would you navigate your way to your destination (whether leadership goal or cute dress shop?) Our journey must start with important and personal work to honestly reflect on how we show up as leaders today. As Henry Cloud said in yesterday’s quote … “what is your wake … around results and people.” How do you feel you lead, and how do other experience you as a leader? The exercise is not at all about your circumstances, or the environment you are working or leading it … its about YOU. Here are a few dimensions of leadership to think about … maybe even score yourself on or rank them.
- Big Picture Thinking – how well can you see the big picture, see how complicated things come together, connect the dots, being innovative.
- Working with Others – how well you work with others, collaborate, create a sense of team, help people converge around ideas.
- Executing/Getting Results – how well you plan, manage time, organize, delegate, hold others accountable for results, manage risks, and deliver more with less
I might be incredibly strong in one domain, average in another and weak in another. Figuring that out requires us to invest time to reflect. To unpack these different aspects of our style and how you lead to really assess ourselves.
And in the course of doing that, do you see something that you think really differentiates you – something that does (or could) set your apart as exceptional. Circle/star/flag/underline/highlight that. We will come back to it and its essential! Conversely, do you see anything that is getting in your way (inside of you and how you lead, not those around you.) Something that is or could overshadow those great aspects of how you lead. Many of our strengths often have a darker side if too exaggerated … assertive can become aggressive, patient can become passive, etc.
As we understand that about ourselves, we can own it and decide how we can develop in ways that will help us lead better, get better results, and allow us to be more successful in our careers. We may choose to start by building on our strengths to get from good to great. Or we may realize that we have a weakness that is so critical it is getting in our own way and we need to stabilize that situation first. But we will work out the journey in due time … first grab a journal and find a quiet spot to reflect. It’s important work. Settle into the fainting couch and happy reflections …
Follow the blog and stay tuned. I will share a little more about my own journey through strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, and the journey that I have been on (and will stay on) in my own career. We can chart our courses together.