Not everyone will have a formal leadership role, but that doesn’t mean they can’t practice fundamental leadership skills in their everyday professional life as well as their personal life.
Leadership skills like listening and clear communication benefit personal life as well as professional life.
The building blocks of leadership are skills that anyone can learn and that anyone can put to work in their day-to-day responsibilities. By maximizing your own leadership potential and practicing the skills that strong leaders have, you’ll be prepared should you be presented with leadership opportunities. Here are some of the key skills you can work on to maximize their leadership potential.
Ask for Feedback and Act on It
Most of us know what our own strengths and weaknesses are, but it’s impossible to know how others perceive us unless we ask. It’s not easy to ask for feedback, whether from colleagues, leaders, or even former co-workers, but it can be tremendously empowering. While you might discover a skill or trait that needs work, you could just as easily discover a strength you didn’t realize you had.
Tackle Skills Gaps
Skills gaps may not seem like much of an impediment to leadership potential, but they can be. Suppose you occasionally have to use spreadsheets in your work, but you don’t know how to make the most of them. Tackling that skills gap by taking an online or in-person training course not only puts more skills in your toolbox, it makes you more efficient and frees up time that you could use exploring opportunities to shine at work.
Practice Personal Discipline
Often, we think we need “inspiration” when what we really need is discipline. Inspiration and motivation are things you can’t count on happening, but discipline – the ability to buckle down and do something even if you don’t feel like it – is dependable. Discipline is necessary for the process of setting and achieving worthwhile goals, for conquering the fear of failure, and for improving patience and self-confidence. Discipline may not be exciting, but it accomplishes a lot.
Developing strong self-discipline is an investment with outstanding short- and long-term returns.
Attend Leadership Development Programs
If you have the opportunity to attend leadership development programs as part of your work or part of a community or social organization, you should do so. While the purpose of such programs is to prepare people for leadership, they also prepare you to excel right where you are. Many of these courses begin with testing so that participants can learn what their own leadership development needs are, and they can be outstanding for helping you clarify your vision and goals for yourself. And should you find yourself in a position of leadership, you will have learned valuable skills for making the most of it.
Leadership doesn’t always mean having a three-letter job title or a job title with “vice president” in it. Leadership opportunities abound in professional and community life. And even if you never seek out a leadership role, you are always the leader of yourself. The leadership skills you learn, whether formally or informally, help you become a better employee, a greater asset to your organization, and a more effective human being in general.
Leadership development programs and leadership coaching are becoming established practices in many businesses because poor leadership and lack of leadership can cause tremendous difficulties. Imagine the things that could be accomplished if everyone made a genuine attempt to improve their leadership potential! Whenever you have the opportunity to increase your leadership potential, you’re investing in your future, and you won’t regret having done so.
If you’re interested in learning more about leadership development, I encourage you to check out my books as well as my speaking and training services.