Across the country there are many people about ready to take on new leadership roles. A couple are very obvious and prominent; Senators Obama and Biden who will soon have new jobs. But there are hundreds of others – new Senators, Representatives, Governors, Mayors, Town Council Members and more.
Of course over the next few months many other people will assume new leadership roles far from politics – they will be new supervisors and people promoted to a new positions of organizational leadership everywhere. And whether they will occupy the White House, the corner office, or the cubicle on the shop floor, perhaps their most important task is developing their personal leadership development program.
In some cases their organization will prescribe a process to help them develop their leadership style and build their leadership skills. In most of these cases, if anything formal is available, it will be training, and unfortunately in many cases even if it is available, it won’t occur as early in your new job as you would like.
A leadership training process is most often available for new supervisors – which makes sense, as they may be in their first official leadership role. Yet the leadership challenges that all leaders face in new roles are many and varied, and even the best leadership training won’t help them meet all of their needs.
These facts lead us to a logical conclusion – you need to take responsibility for your own development! The best first steps for you in taking control of your development are:
1. Get a leadership assessment. This might start with a self assessment, but if the leader moving on is experienced, the best step might be a 360 Assessment, providing a formalized way to gather feedback and create an action plan for both strengthening strengths and shoring up any areas of weakness.
2. Get Coaching and Mentoring. Again there are formal and informal approaches available. As a part of any supervisor training process, I recommend at a minimum finding a mentor to help you navigate your new challenges. You can accelerate your growth by working with a leadership coach to help you reflect on your progress and help you map your strategies, approaches and plans for improving your leadership skills. Executive leadership coaching is key to your development because it provides you with an ongoing leadership development process – a continual path of learning.
If you are reading this as a new leader, congratulations! The opportunities to make a difference are dramatic. In order to best lead you must have a plan not only for your work, but for your growth and development. The two steps listed here will help you both build that development plan, and help you execute it most effectively.