One thing I know for sure about leaders- if they believe they know everything about their field or career and there isn’t anything else that can help them grow, they are sunk. When leaders allow their experience and expertise to prevent them from learning new concepts or processes, they will begin a downward spiral in their organizations and careers.
What I have also observed is that age and background has nothing to do with our desire to learn new skills or have new experiences. Some of the youngest leaders I work with are sometime more closed minded to new approaches than seasoned leaders. And sometimes leaders who have been on a team for a long time are unwilling to try new tactics. It’s more about how leaders envision their growth.
When leaders move from “know-it-alls” to “life-long learners” they strengthen their leadership status.
Here are five practices to strengthen your leadership status:
1. DUMP A KNOW-IT-ALL MANTRA
The first way we can reposition our leadership is by admitting to ourselves we aren’t the smartest person on the team or in the room. Additionally we probably can’t write the most comprehensive book on our subject expertise because ideas are constantly changing and evolving. Stop right now thinking you are the “best” and “no one can do it better” than you.
2. BE DELIBERATE IN ASKING FOR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES
Once we acknowledge that we can learn from others we need to make that happen.
- Ask team members how they might go about handling a project differently
- Listen actively to hear what they are saying
- Keep judgments away from understanding and trying new approaches
- Ask questions to clarify
- Be respectful when you disagree
- Thank them for sharing their insights and perspectives
3. DELVE INTO A NEW LEADERSHIP BOOK
Never stop reading and discovering new concepts, trends and thinking. When leaders read with an eye to learning something new, they will not only add fresh new skills to their leadership toolbox, but will also strengthen their leadership status. When we bring new strategies and ideas to our teams, we are showing our ability to be more agile and take risks. Have you read “Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success” by Carol S. Dweck? Create leadership book clubs with colleagues.
4. INCORPORATE NEW IDEAS IN PROJECTS
To show others on our teams that we value their opinions and suggestions, make sure to include their input in future project directions. Additionally, don’t forget to give the individual credit for their ideas. There is no better way to strengthen our leadership than by strengthening the leadership of others.
- Establish brainstorming meetings
- Send follow-up emails on what was shared and voted on
- Keep asking for more insights
- Ask who on the team would like to help execute the new plan
5. BRING THIS NEW THINKING TO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
As with all work related learning, it can be transferred into our personal lives. Stay open to suggestions from friends and family and people we volunteer with. When we help others feel worthy we are growing our leadership at the same time.
How have you strengthened your leadership status?