5 Leadership Development Projects even Frantic Leaders Can Do
The tragedy of organizational life is incompetent leadership.
If everything rises or falls on leadership, why aren’t you systematically developing leadership skills?
3 pathetic excuses leaders give to neglect development:
- I don’t have time to develop my leadership. Short-sighted leaders use busyness as a reason to neglect their own development.
- I earned this position, I must know what I’m doing. Stated plainly, these leaders believe they’re god’s gift to organizations. How would you feel about anyone on the team who bragged they didn’t need to improve?
- You can’t teach old dogs new tricks. If you hear this pathetic excuse, work to demote or remove this leader.
We all know leaders who think they’re good but suck. In some ways that describes you.
5 simple development projects frantic leaders can do:
Practice moving the ball down the field. Conclude three conversations with, “What’s the next step?” Listen for reverse delegation. That’s when people give you a job rather than taking ownership themselves.
Improve listening skills. (Believe me you need to.) Ask two questions before making one statement. Practice this three times before lunch.
Elevate openness. Ask three people, “What do you think?” before lunch.
Understand motivation. Buy lunch for a team member and listen to their story. Ask them how they happened to choose their career. (30 minutes.)
Energize with personal affirmations. “When I see you (insert behavior), it makes me feel (insert positive personal response). Do this once before lunch and once after lunch.
- Place these projects on your calendar.
- Enlist an accountability partner.
- Reflect on your daily project. What worked? What could improve?
Leadership has trajectory. If you’re not improving, you’re sinking.
The first development is self-development. The work you’re doing is too important not to hone your skills.
Why do leaders neglect their own development?
What micro leadership development projects might you suggest?
I have nailed your rules on my calendar, Dan. Enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing. 😊🙏
Thanks Dina. It’s great to be on the journey with you.,
One of your better ones Dan!
The 5 Days of Leadership Development is great, with the exception of Wednesday which seems a bit fuzzy. Many use the phrase, “What do you think,” as an opening remark. My reply is, “About what?” Leaders focus on things that make a difference. I suggest adding to the remark by asking another Team Member their ideas on how to, “Move the ball down the field.”
Thanks Russell. Specific results require specific behaviors. I’m glad you jumped in.
Thank you for some great advice on a Friday that can easily be started on Monday. I may even try the Friday lesson today!
Thanks Lisa. Why wait. 🙂 I know busy leaders who adopt the commitment to give one personal affirmation every day. It’s actually possible for busy leaders to do this stuff. Best for the journey!
“I earned this position, I must know what I’m doing. Stated plainly, these leaders believe they’re god’s gift to organizations. How would you feel about anyone on the team who bragged they didn’t need to improve?”
As we see every day coming from the White House.
I love these action steps. I can talk about leadership all the time, but doing leadership takes my leadership to the next level. Words without action are just ideas.
These are great! Adding to my calendar!
Any suggestions on how to respond to reverse delegation in a way the empowers?
To prevent reverse delegation use “You,” not we. You might try, “What’s the next step you can take?”
When you encounter reverse delegation, you might try, “I hear you saying some ways that I might help move the ball forward, what could you do?”
How about, “I want this to be a team effort. I’m excited to participate. What contribution can you make?”
How about, “I think you misunderstood my question. I wasn’t thinking about something I should do. I was wondering how you might run with the ball.”
Which of your strengths might you apply to this opportunity?
You might just say, “No. It’s better for your career for you to grab this opportunity.”
What make you reluctant to run this ball down the field?
How might I make it feel safer for you to risk taking on this responsibility?
It doesn’t help your career for me to do this? What’s a small step you can take today?
What comes to your mind?
Thanks Dave. Exactly! It’s pretty easy to slip into all talk and no action. I think we all do it. A little reminder to put the rubber to the road really helps.
Great list of excuses that leaders use. if its not working or they think they are entitled to that position- they need to go!
Thanks Mitra. You’re tough!! 🙂 Have a great weekend!
I greatly appreciate the daily actionable steps! As someone is not in a leadership position by ‘title’, I think it vital to remember that these are steps that we can model and strategies that we can share with those titled leaders that default to the excuses listed above. By modeling and sharing, we are not only holding ourselves accountable we are supporting and putting an emphasis on growth and development for everyone.
Thanks Jeannie. I really respect your approach to holding ourselves accountable, even if we don’t have a title. We move forward best when we assume responsibility for ourselves. Powerful!
Hi Dan, I like the action items aspect of this post so much! Sometimes I go to the gym. There’s all these machines. I’m glad I have my exercises written out according to my targets, because otherwise I would just get on the treadmill, rather than going after the stuff that needs strengthening. Wish you and all community here a lovely weekend
Thanks Cate. Great point. A plan helps us broaden our approach. There are some areas of leadership we lean toward because we’re more comfortable. Maybe it’s our area of strength. A plan stretches us.
I think you have really nailed so much about what is going on around leadership today. Thanks for creating this – short, specific and doable. Plan to send out to my clients right away.
Thanks Kathy. It’s great that something as simple as this can make a difference.
Great article Dan. Such simple steps that anyone can take. Intentionality is the underlying message. I have put them in my to-do list as repeating actions.
Why do we dress up normal civilised human behaviour as ‘leadership’? There rules are great, but they are what we should all do all the time to lubricate organisational life. The fact that a person in authority does them is good, obviously, but the first step of organisational life is to recognise that we work in a ‘community of responsibiltiy’. Responsible to produce, to be polite and supportive of colleagues, and to advance the organisation’s mission. We do this at different levels of responsibility, but all within an organisational structure that casts our lot.