BusinessDay

How to create your personal leadership plan (2)

The forerunner in the contemporary field of leadership research, Warren Bennis, stresses that leadership is critical for an organization’s survival. Organizations that are short on leadership have little chance of survival. In the same vein, following the highly competitive global market, businesses relentlessly pursue the steady development of their products and services to achieve higher innovation capabilities. Leadership with the ability to create this type of change and innovation is critical for an organization’s survival.

Leadership is a process whereby individuals influence a group to achieve a common goal. The leader uses personal power, which is the influence capacity a leader derives from followers as likeable or knowledgeable. i.e., the reverential and expert power of the teachers and medical doctors, respectively, are gotten through mentoring and competence to influence people to earn respect.

I believe that leadership is not a position: it’s a combination of something you are, i.e., your character, and some things you do, i.e., your skills and competence. I also believe the best leadership model is that of a servant leader, who leads by serving the needs of people.

Research on behavioural genetics and genetic sociology indicates that up to 50% of personality is genetically determined, and the self-concept rests within the personality system. Personalities act according to the way they perceive themselves and the social situation. Compared to genetics, a leader’s life experiences are likely to significantly influence character strengths and virtues, ascetic self-construal, and authentic leadership behaviour.

Leaders’ life experiences become essential elements for recognizing their character strengths or need to develop. They also provide crucial information regarding self-knowledge, self-identity, and self-standards for leaders to better understand who they are.

Once you have carried out your self-reflection and analyzed your feedback, you should have a clearer view of your strengths and any areas that need development. Think about any common themes that have emerged, especially those picked up by others that you were previously unaware of – perhaps the process has also given you new ideas as to how you wish to progress your career.

Read also: How to create your personal leadership plan

Subsequently, the next step is to take this knowledge and use it to create a leadership development plan. This article will outline the steps you intend to take to improve your leadership capabilities. It will help you focus on continuous improvement and be accountable for the progress you make. Your leadership development plan should include:

i. Your core development objectives could be the acquisition of knowledge, new skills, or behaviours.

ii. How do you plan to achieve these objectives – perhaps by shadowing a more experienced colleague, by using coaching, or even by enrolling in a course.

iii. New relationships need to be built – perhaps with other colleagues or external partners.

iv. You need to gain any experience – perhaps managing an area or process, carrying out a service review, or a clinical audit.

v. Defining what ‘success’ will look like for you and a target date to achieve this by – it is important to be realistic with your aspirations in the timeline you set.

Your leadership development plan should be a ‘living document’ and revisited regularly. This could be done either independently or during reviews with your line manager. This will help you chart your progress or act in areas where there are still obstacles. Moreover, the nature of living and working in a volatile and complex world means it’s likely that your performance and your development needs will evolve quite frequently as the needs of the business change.

Accomplishing the goals you have set out in your leadership development plan should not require you to change who you are. It should simply help you continue to grow as a leader or manager – think of it as you are the ingredients, and your leadership development plan is the recipe. If you feel the need to make more rapid progress, finding a personal coach or mentor can also be an invaluable asset in helping you to reflect on your performance and introduce you to new ways of thinking.

Excelling in leadership nowadays will help you achieve more positive outcomes for your team, clients, family, and, importantly, yourself. To maintain a high level of leadership, it is important to first self-reflect by identifying areas in which you feel you perform strongly and those in which you need to improve. You should then seek feedback from others by preparing brief and specific questions that colleagues or clients can follow and answer for you.

Subsequently, objectives should be aligned with your input and workplace needs to develop your leadership development plan. This should then be shared with colleagues and revisited regularly to build up trust and transparency within a team while improving your personal and professional confidence and performance.

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