Estimated reading time: 2 mins
If you’re responsible for developing new leaders, or if you’re an emerging leader yourself, then don’t forget that what we learn and experience in our ‘everyday’ lives act as strong reminders that we’re all Leaders.
Leadership isn’t something we tend to switch on and off. It isn’t something we do exclusively in the workplace either. For example, parenting is about coaching, teaching and patience, and in particular, selflessness. Home Improvement requires planning, acquisition of tools and learning. Leadership is something we all do in our every day lives – even the idiots and buffoons that we unfortunately meet occasionally!
Dan McCarthy on his blog Great Leadership shares his ten opportunities for us to gain more leadership experience ‘off the job’. I think it’s a great list because they’re things most of us do without even realizing that they are leadership activities.
One of the junior managers in my workplace, Nick, has become increasingly worried about his future due to the credit crunch. He especially feels vulnerable because he feels he has no leadership experience yet he yearns to take on roles for leading teams in 1st line technical support. Dan’s list popped into my head when Nick described his situation to me this morning. So I asked him what he did at home, and in his spare time. It turns out he is Dad of 4, a Scout Leader, a football coach for under 10s, and a dab-hand with power tools when he improves his home. This doesn’t sound like someone who had no leadership experience! So I told him straight; he is a leader, probably a natural, but he has put a belief in his own head that he isn’t. I went onto say that if he took his outside experience and used what he knows internally, then he has a great chance of being a team leader.
I think Nick can translate the leadership and personal skills developed in his personal interests into the workplace to great effect. As we all can .
Try this – write down all the things you do outside of work, and break them down into the kinds of skills and capabilities you need. Use Dan’s list as a guide. Once you’ve done this, reflect on them and put them into the context of your organization. Do they translate ? Have you identified skills you didn’t even know you had?
Now imagine if those idiots at work did the same….. maybe there is hope for them after all!