Now and then you need to take a look under the leadership hood and make sure things are running well.
Start by inspecting your biggest goal. Run a self-diagnosis of six systems:
- Your Operating Principle – What you are trying to achieve?
- Your Values and Strengths – Are they aligned and do they support your goal?
- Goal Articulation – Do you know what you are trying to accomplish and can you easily explain it to others?
- Key Actions – What do you physically need to do to move forward?
- Success Metrics – How do you know if you are “winning” or “losing”?
- Resources – Who or what could help you with any element of your goal?
Next, assess how well you are performing with your essential leadership skills. What are those? The short answer, it depends on your organization, culture, team, and what you want to achieve. Broadly identified, these are the skills that if you don’t use them, you will often be prevented promotion, get reprimanded, or otherwise derail your career. Some people call these “soft skills,” but given the consequences of failing to employ them, that seems disingenuous.
I cluster Essential Leadership Skills around five key areas:
- Communication, Influence & Persuasion – How well do you listen and communicate ideas and actions with others?
- Management, Strategy, and Results – How well do you incorporate your management skills with creating and supporting larger strategies that achieve your desired results?
- Situational and Interpersonal Awareness – How easily do you assess the motivations, skills, barriers and distractions of others and appropriately respond?
- Creativity and Problem-solving – How adaptable, flexible and persistent are you and are those traits contagious?
- Professional Acumen and Attitude – How much respect and dignity do you provide and earn through your regular interactions?
Most of your career blind spots come from these five areas. Many people who are individual contributors do not know that they exist. For others, problems occur when they ignore their shortcomings in one or more skill set.
Periodically checking your leadership systems and running some preventative maintenance will increase the mileage you get from your career.
Need more than a cursory look? Contact Karl Bimshas Consulting for a leadership tune up, engine rebuild, or shop for a new model.
Also published on Medium.