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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:

  1. I don’t have time to develop my leadership. Short-sighted leaders use busyness as a reason to neglect their own development.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

3 Rules:

  1. Place these projects on your calendar.
  2. Enlist an accountability partner.
  3. 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?


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