One of the professional development opportunities I have been fortunate to participate in is CORE Growth, a leadership development program for emerging leaders. Our cohort includes five individuals with different job titles from various industries. What we have in common is each of our organizations sees us as an emerging leader. We have the potential to have a positive influence in each of our respective company’s not just today but also tomorrow.
In today’s society, it takes more than potential to be a high-quality leader. Through my participation in CORE Growth, I have not only learned how to enhance my strengths, but also how to acknowledge and correct for my areas of improvement. If you are interested in learning more about CORE Growth, watch this informative video: https://youtu.be/gafaHWBCdpM .
I’ve learned a great deal about developing as a leader. I can summarize these learnings into 4 key areas:
- Know Yourself
- Take Care of Yourself
- Remain Curious
- Give Back
Know yourself – both as a communicator and as a leader; the more you know about your own style the more effective you will be.
Take the time to not only learn what your strengths are, but to further develop them. Acknowledge areas that can be improved and adjust accordingly. For example, I know that one of the characteristics I exhibit is that I am quick to think and quick to speak. Although this quality can serve a positive purpose, when left unchecked, it can be overwhelming to others. Now that I am aware of my tendency to respond or interject quickly, I consciously force myself to slow down and ask others their opinions first. This seemingly simple adjustment allows others to participate making myself not just a better team member, but also a better leader.
Take care of yourself—it’s hard to be an effective leader if you are constantly battling health problems.
Wellness encompasses physical, emotional, and mental health. If you are not respecting your mind, body, or soul you are doing yourself and your team disservice. Take the time to eat foods that make you feel good, get the rest you need, and if you are feeling overwhelmed take a break. Whether it be a 10 day vacation or a 10 minute walk, schedule time away. It will likely make you more productive in the long-run—and your team will follow.
Remain curious— don’t stop wondering.
Often times when we get busy, we stop wondering “why?” or “what if?” This prevents us from improving. By taking time to challenge the status quo we allow ourselves to think bigger. Take time to see the “whole” first, and then focus on the details. Allow your team to brainstorm what changes they would make if they had unlimited resources. From there, see what changes your team could actually make with the resources you do have that would accomplish some of the same goals. By allowing for a safe environment for curiosity to blossom, you are enabling your team to make your organization even better!
Give back—to be a leader is to be a role model, intentional or not.
Giving back impacts not only you and the people you are helping, but also those who are watching you. Giving back is great because altruism in general is a mood lifter—also, who doesn’t want their community to be the best it can be? Giving back as a leader is even better because you have the opportunity to set an example for others. Even donating two hours of your time to helping a cause you believe in can make a huge impact. In turn, inspiring others to donate their time can make a massive impact on the community.