A leader told me he was learning a lot. I asked, “What are you learning?” He couldn’t name one thing.
If you don’t know what you’re learning, you aren’t learning.
I took three years of high school Spanish. When I learned Spanish, I knew I was learning Spanish.
Leadership is a set of skills, behaviors, and attitudes that can be learned. Everyone who learns a skill knows they’re learning.
Feeling like myself:
A coaching client said, “I’m feeling more like myself again.” I’ve been his coach for a little over a year and a half. He’s adopting new behaviors and letting go of strategies that didn’t serve him well.
New behaviors come to life slowly. Old behaviors hang on gasping for breath. Many of us are still learning the patience of letting others solve their own issues, for example.
When I learned Spanish, I had to think about every word. Purposeful practice and feedback enabled the process.
I still remember a few phrases like, “Tengo un gato?” Do you have a cat. But Spanish with a New England accent lacks something. (Thanks to readers for letting me know that the phrase is actually, “Yo tengo un gato.” It means I have a cat. I thought I remembered my Spanish!)
Frustration – intention – practice:
Everyone who grows as a leader knows they’re growing. Sadly, we often sleepwalk through our days repeating the practices that produce disappointing results.
Nagging frustrations tell you it’s time to change. But don’t imagine you will magically grow.
Narrow your focus of develop,emt.
- Turn conversations from problems to solutions.
- Bring up awkward topics.
- Monitor and manage energy.
- Lead vibrant meetings.
- Ask two questions before making one statement.
- Affirm behaviors that align with values.
- Begin challenges by touching base with purpose.
Intentionally practice new behaviors until you feel like yourself again. In the beginning it feels like everyone is watching. You’re a poser.
Growth requires doing things that don’t come naturally.
What’s essential for learning leadership skills?
What skills should young leaders learn first?