Do you want a list of the top 10 leadership development tips to put your leadership skills training into overdrive?
If so, this is the conversation for you. In 2022, there were 75 key takeaways taken from our episodes. Marc and Brendan have boiled them down to 10 of the best action steps to enhance your leadership credentials.
They are timeless and each build on the one before it. Consider each of them a step on the journey to building character, competence and connection; enabling you to become a more confident leader. Maslow's hierarchy of needs from a leadership perspective and each a step on the leadership staircase.
If leaders choose to follow these things because they believe it is going to help them on their leadership journey then Brendan is very, very confident they won't be disappointed.
Will you just listen, or will you listen and put it into action?
The Top 10 Leadership Development Tips
1. Leaders lead themselves first
“If you can't lead yourself, what gives you the right to lead others?”
You can easily tell if somebody is looking after themselves and if they are not, then potentially they are lacking some discipline - and leadership is very much about discipline.
When you are leading yourself first and have control of yourself; not feeling like something external is controlling you; or the business is controlling you; or other people in your life are controlling you; it shows that you are owning yourself. You are doing things every day to try and be your best self. That is a great starting point.
2. Leaders Lead with Purpose
“Weak cultures rise from neglect; strong cultures rise from deliberate intent.”
When leaders articulate what their purpose is, it will help excite them each day. They’re going to get out of bed enthused each morning because they know what their purpose in life is, what gives them energy and what they enjoy doing. They are then going to make it happen.
3. Leaders Ask for Help
“The hardest part about asking for help, is getting into the habit of asking. It's the initial breaking of that barrier in a way that essentially puts you at ease with the habit of asking for help.
Leaders asking for help speaks to vulnerability and it gives the team an opportunity to share their insight. Engage the team, not in an inauthentic way where you are trying and get them to come up with what you want them to come up with, but to have genuine conversations to seek their input.
4. Leaders have Genuine Conversations
“The intent of a conversation like that is, hey, I'm seeking some help, I understand that you are really good in an area. Help me learn from you.
When we think about organizational hierarchy, asking for help opens the door. It levels us and brings everyone onto the same page. Approaching someone when you really need some help is going to create the opportunity for genuine conversations.
5. Leaders Create a Feedback Culture
“You can ask for help. You can have genuine conversations. But if you're not deliberate around asking for feedback, then you're not actually setting foundations for a feedback culture.”
When you catch someone doing something that would benefit from improvement, don’t tell them what the answer is but ask them to do things differently and then allow them the opportunity to come up with that answer for themselves.
This can increase the level of ownership and the sustainability of that change is usually much higher.
6. Leaders Make Time to Observe Culture
“You can glean so much just by observing people in their environment and seeing what is happening. Is that working well? Are you seeing great interaction among certain teams? Are you seeing great cross-departmental interaction?
Taking the time out to observe what is happening most of the time is so, so important yet many won’t do it. Leaders get so busy being busy and miss stuff. We don't take the time to reflect.
7. Leaders Focus on Clarity over Certainty
“He had to make the right decisions, given the data that he had to work with.”
If you have a group of people who are absolutely clear on what their next step is, how they are going to move forward and what outcome they are trying to achieve, then they will walk over hell and high water to achieve the outcome that they have committed to. Even if they took a bit of a windy path to get there.
Humans are such resourceful human beings. They will get there and do it.
8. Leaders Focus on High Value Activities
“Being able to focus on high-value activities is sometimes rather difficult to do because there's a lot of noise out there.”
Leaders need to make sure that they are thinking about things critically and providing value to their audience. There are different high-value activities in different businesses but what we really need to make sure of as leaders is that we’re doing things that really only we can and should be doing within our role.
A leader’s role is to make sure the team is working cohesively; really pushing their buttons to get the best out of them. That is a high-value activity.
9. Leaders Choose Accountability over Popularity
“Popularity in leadership is like the Antichrist, really. If you're going into a leadership role and wanting to be popular, then you're going to fail.”
You may not be the most popular person as a leader if you choose accountability over popularity, but 100 out of 100 people will respect you - mostly after the fact.
They may not have appreciated it as much during the process, but they will reflect on it and say, you know what? ‘Marc’ was hard to work for, but he was fair. I performed really well under ‘Marc’ because he kept me accountable.
10. Leaders Learn from Their Experiences
“We learn from our own failings and the failings of others.”
Making time for some reflection - how am I going with this, what can I improve upon - those sorts of questions come out of our experiences.
This was a really good experience that I was able to do. How can I continue to do that and make time for this? This didn't work out anywhere near as well as what I thought it was going to work out in my own head. What was different? How do I need to change that?
Experiences drive so much. A lot of the conversations we have had on The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) Podcast have been unpacking people's experiences. From those experiences, they have developed thought-leading content, frameworks and methods. Guests have also written and published books.
All these 10 points are high-value activities that a leader should be focused on in their own leadership journey. If they do, then they are going to be going very, very well compared to most leaders out there.