How timely to have recently reconnected with a senior leader inside a large healthcare services company. In his usual passionate way, he couldn’t wait to tell me about a new leadership development initiative that was being rolled out in his company. His enthusiasm and great ideas started to flow, so I started taking notes. What he plans to do is kick off the first meeting by talking about his own leadership journey and challenging his employees to consider actions they could take that would impact their own career path.
I became so excited, I asked if I could share his thoughts with you. With his approval, here are his thoughts on what he has learned that has been helpful in becoming an effective leader:
1 – Have a vision for your career, set specific written, time-bound goals, and then execute!
Here’s what he said. “I’ve always had a vision for where I wanted to be in a certain time frame. I knew I wanted to be leading a department by age 30, be a functional area leader by age 35, etc. With that in mind, I wrote down the first long term 10-year goal. Then I broke that down into smaller steps or objectives that I knew I would have to accomplish in order to make my goal a reality. This wasn’t easy. One of the short-term goals I had to complete was to get my MBA, and that took several years.”
It’s important to effectively articulate and communicate your vision or goal. Talk about it. Think about it. Take actions toward it. And be careful to not allow any self-doubt to enter in. You must believe you WILL…or you WON’T.
2 – Seek feedback from trusted mentors, but also from those who work for you.
This admittedly takes humility. He has learned to seek feedback from those who (in his opinion) will directly help him succeed or fail. As he said, “How can I possibly motivate my employees if I don’t know where they are coming from and what might be going on in their minds about my leadership? So I ask them!”
So how does he do that? I might start by saying, “I believe all of us can benefit from good feedback, learn from it and get better. So I’d like to know how I can be more effective in working with you.” Or, “how did that presentation resonate with you?”
Just being honest and authentic is what makes this work for him or anyone else. It’s showing true servant leadership, considering employees’ feelings, ideas, and listening to their feedback once in a while.
3 – Let the team make the decisions.
When the strategic direction for the year included developing and implementing the new leadership initiative, he empowered those who would be designing and implementing it — including HR, mid-managers and staff to take ownership of the project. He trusted them to come up with the plan and determine how it would benefit employees. It was planned, designed, and rolled out on time and on budget.
That’s why he was so excited. So, not only is he excited, but the entire team is excited — after all, it is their ideas and those ideas worked.
Kudos to a team effort well done…and a true servant leader at the helm. Onward and upward!
That’s My Voice: What’s yours? Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine
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