A player that makes a team great is better than a great player. - John Wooden
When I took the assessment for this project, I was able to notice my predominant leadership style but here the question is “How can I develop the proper skills to be a leader?” In order to answer this question, I did some research and I reached a very interesting talk given by Lars Sudmann in which he reveals some advices to become the leader you want to be, regardless of the leadership style you may have.
Marcus Aurelius, one of the predominant figures of the stoic school of philosophy, said: “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts, so act virtuous, use your time well, and be cheerful. Then, when you drop from life’s tree, you will drop like a ripe fruit.” He focused a lot of his time on a field called self-leadership, leading oneself first before going out and leading others.
Dee Hock, founder of visa said “If you want to lead, invest at least 40% of your time in leading yourself” before you go out to others, now, how do you do that? That’s exactly what I want to explore together with you in this session. I want to share with you three strategies to really try to see what we can do with that field of self-leadership.
The first strategy is self-awareness. When you become a leader, it’s actually some of the crucial things to be self-aware, but it’s getting more and more difficult, if any of you have ever been in a leadership position and you ever tried to ask for feedback, that’s not so easy. You ask like “hey team, hey group, do you have some feedback?” very often what you encounter is the silence, and the you go “come on guys! Some feedback!” and they go “everything great, brilliant” and that’s not right. There are other ways to get feedback, however. One of them is to check it by ourselves and one tool is the “character traits check”. This is about to ask yourself for example what was the worst leader that you’ve ever had and then think what your face does them with this, this is me reflecting upon this. Then, go further, ask "what did he or she do actually to be such a worst leader?" and here comes now the trick in this tool, give yourself a score from 1 to 5, "How good are you on the things you considered made your leader a bad one?" Once you get yourself a score then you can take actions.
But if you do that, you will see also the way portrayed effect, you do that the next morning, you’re fully engaged but then, like a trail, at the beginning it’s very sharp, but later on it fades and fades away and that’s why what you can do is the second strategy I brought you today. It is self-reflection. Taking just a couple of minutes during the day and thinking about the challenges that you’ve achieved but also that you are maybe about to have during the day. How did my leadership go yesterday? How would the leader I would like to be do and face the challenges that I’m about to face today? Self-reflection, two to five minutes.
And then we come to the last strategy: self-regulation. You’ve done your awareness, you’ve done your reflection but you still will encounter the moments, you still will encounter the meetings, the discussions where people come in, those who promised you “yes I will do everything” and then come to the room and "let’s talk it" and they are like “let’s talk what?”, “the report you said would be ready”, “Oh, I don’t have it sorry”. Here comes the tool called reframing. It is a simple tool: when you think the explosion is coming to you, stop and ask yourself one to two seconds, "on a scale from one to ten how important is that issue right now?" with ten being very important, if it’s a ten, well, then you better engage really fully in it, but very often it’s more like a 2 or 3, that is reframing, taking a step back will help you enormously to address the situation.
You see, small strategies, small things. To conclude, I would like to encourage you to think about this, when you have a leadership position invest this time in self-awareness, self-reflection, self-regulation, self-leadership in general before you go out and lead others. If we all did this, it will lead to a leadership utopia and hopefully if you all start doing now, and somebody asks in 10, 20 years the question “who was the best leader that you’ve ever worked with?”, maybe they will think of you.


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