Great leaders are visionaries. They can inspire, innovate and nurture both people and ideas.
These qualities don’t appear in a person by accident. To have a vision for others, you must also have a vision for yourself, and that takes investment.
What is your leadership vision? If that’s a difficult question to answer, you haven’t invested enough in yourself as a leader. The process of investment is exciting. It stretches your imagination and forces you to reflect on your impact. It means you’re able to analyse your behaviours and see how they are driven by your values and beliefs.
The ability to invest in yourself isn’t an optional extra. It is part of the definition of good leadership. These are 5 reasons why you should invest in yourself as leader.
Think about it. Are you where you are now as a result of random chance? Or have you worked hard and made sure you’ve learned whenever you could? Of course, you may have had a helping hand and been blessed with some natural ability, but you will have done a lot of work to get to where you are now.
Now isn’t the time to stop working. Wherever you are in your leadership journey, if you want to remain a good leader, keep working at taking the next step. Take a thoughtful, systematic and rigorous approach to your development, by deciding what kind of leader you want to be and making a plan that will help you be that leader.
The credibility of your desire to teach and lead others depends on your own willingness to be taught. Leaders who believe that they have arrived, and no longer need to learn, begin to fail. If you believe that you have reached a point where you no longer need to learn, that is a sign that you do need to learn, much more than someone who doubts their ability. Those with doubts automatically seek learning opportunities, those without them sometimes ignore this need. Think of everything you do as an opportunity to reflect, gain feedback and learn.
If you were asked to define what leadership is about, what would you say? If your answer involves mainly things that are about you and your own progress, it’s time to rethink. Leadership should be about other people. It’s about inspiring and motivating others. It’s about recognising potential and nurturing it. It’s about achieving results, of course, but those results can only be achieved by working with people. If your focus is not on developing people, you’re missing the point.
Great leaders are thinkers and visionaries. If you’re looking for a magic leadership formula that will allow you to become more successful, stop looking. It doesn’t exist. Leadership is not a box-ticking exercise. We all know this, but it’s sometimes tempting to think that it can be that simple. But it cannot, and to become a great leader, there are things you must understand. You should know who you are, what your values, beliefs and behaviours are, and what impact these have on other people. Taking the time to understand these things is a crucial part of your investment in yourself as a leader. When you do understand them, you’ll find you have the kind of clear head you need to develop your vision and strategy.
If an organisation’s leaders actively invest in themselves, that gets noticed. Self-investment and development become a natural part of the organisation’s culture, something everyone does. And when that happens, talent is always alive.
It’s difficult to make the right investments without the right support. We developed our Connected Leader programme to help ambitious, effective leaders have an even greater impact.
We’re also running a leadership programme aimed at senior women leaders to be held early October 2018 in Ireland. It gives you a powerful opportunity to further increase your impact at work. Over two days of coaching and personal exploration, including prework and follow up coaching, you will develop an individual plan designed to give you the tools and behaviours you need to excel at the highest levels of seniority. This is a chance for you to explore your leadership, define your leadership vision and drive your impact. It will give you time to think and to collaborate with your peers. You’ll gain deep insight into yourself and your capabilities and a support network of other senior women.
When working with leaders to help them become better connected, there are four principal domains in which we work. Each one of these is – quite naturally – connected to the others.
Four domains that may, at first glance, appear to be independent, but in fact influence one another profoundly. Push here and something happens over there. They are the component parts of a unified whole.
We live in the age of disruption,where apparently left-field, unexpected solutions to problems we thought we had licked can creep up on big, established market leaders, to become noisy, irritating challengers.
To the outmanoeuvred, to the sluggish establishment, the struggle is knowing how to be different and how to change. It’s as if the innovators rewrote the rules of their sector and didn’t tell anyone. It’s like their upstart competitors really did uncover the secrets of alchemy or worked out how to speed up evolution.