Leadership development requires knowing yourself first, then adapting your approach to different situations and people. These six tips offer advice:
- Look Inward. Start by identifying your leadership vision, principles, and/or goals. Decide what you want to stand for and how you want to be seen. Consider using an assessment like the DRiV™ to help articulate what is most important to you. Have the end in mind. Ask yourself “What do I want people to say about me at my retirement party?”
- Look Around. Conduct a stakeholder analysis. Consider your various stakeholders. Write down what is important to each of them, how they are best influenced, and what type of information they seek.
- Share Your Opinions. Be willing to state your views and take well-reasoned stances on critical issues. Pay attention to when you might be too easily swayed by others.
- Be Intentional. Develop and adapt your style to the situation or individual:
1) Consider multiple ways to make an impact and specifically tailor your approach. Remember that some people are impacted by logic and numbers, others by a personal relationship, and still others by positive energy and enthusiasm.
2) Do your homework so you know what’s important to the audience or person you are trying to influence. Refer to this analysis in preparing your interactions. Be able to answer, “What’s in it for me?” from their perspective; develop solutions that can positively impact everyone.
3) Ask for feedback on your communications and leadership skills. Build check-in loops to ensure people are getting what they need; ask what does/does not work for them.
4) Expand your techniques, for example by reading the Situational Leadership Model to learn about enhancing your versatility when empowering, influencing, delegating, and communicating.
- Build Support. Develop support for your opinions and alternative points-of-view. Talk with people off-line and build alliances. Show how your ideas could help the organization in ways others might not have considered.
- Utilize Whole Messages. When it’s your turn to assert your needs or position, practice delivering your points using “whole messages” that include clear statements about data, your thoughts and feelings, and a clear articulation of your goals. This makes your thinking more transparent to others, while being direct about your needs.