Discover how to fight the Great Resignation with extraordinary leadership skills.
A record thirty-eight million Americans resigned in 2021. The BEST BOSS EVER Newsletter exposes ideas, mindsets, and behaviors extraordinary leaders use to win hearts and minds. Lead yourself, others, and teams more effectively.
Last month’s three key points:
Great leaders create hope! People want to believe in a better future. Exceptional leaders help team members see that they can get what they want (if they work for it). Help them see what could happen when your organization grows. Secondly, employees expect they will be treated with respect & fairness and will be given meaningful work. If they are not getting this today, they need hope that it will be there for them in the future, or they will leave. Finally, employees strongly hope they will be able to integrate their personal life with their work life (without repercussions). Ask your team members what they hope for in the future and help them work to get it.
Have you worked for a leader who you would walk through a wall for? Making a strong emotional connection with those who work for you is essential to inspire and motivate them. You are great making emotional connections with people who are similar to you. However, when their style/preferences are not like yours, it can be hard. Seventy-five percent of the world is different than you. Adapting your style to the preferences of how others want to connect is essential to being perceived as an extraordinary leader.
The Imposter Syndrome is real. More people than ever are questioning if they have what it takes to do their job. Leadership has never been more difficult – miss a deadline, miss an important meeting, make a hiring mistake, fail to accomplish a goal, and your peers judge you or your boss gives you negative feedback! Work is hard – complexity in the workplace grows exponentially as you go up in the organization. You will strike out – extraordinary leaders take risks, fail, make mistakes, and have weaknesses. To lead yourself in an extraordinary way, you need to give yourself grace. Perfection is not the goal. Be aware of self-talk that makes you feel ‘never good enough.’
Point # 1 – To be a great leader, you must be a student of leadership.
From the research I have done one thing stands out: great leaders are great learners. They work hard to learn on the job through observation, practicing, and reflecting on new habits. Any professional who strives to be the best in their area of expertise is dedicated to continually learning, growing, and changing. Leadership is hard to master, yet it is possible to get better 1% per day.
What is your plan to ‘study’ leadership? Most people I know are too casual about their process of learning leadership. Without a plan, your progress will be slow. How can you accelerate your ability to learn and apply great leadership strategies and skills?
If I were starting over as a new leader, here’s a list of ten things that I would do to accelerate my leadership development. Pick a few ideas and create your own study plan.
- Get a coach or a mentor
- Take a meaningful 360-degree assessment (if you have direct reports) and follow it up in 12-18 months to gauge your progress
- Look for good & bad role models and study what they do
- Establish short-term goals to improve your leadership effectiveness
- Practice leadership = weekly create a plan of what you will specifically do to practice a skill
- Weekly review, reflect and journal about your learning insights from your practice
- Seek positions of leadership that will make you uncomfortable, look for projects that no one wants to lead or join a nonprofit that is looking for a leader
- Study the greatest books on leadership as if you were going to be tested
- Discover why you want to be a leader
- Create a group you can meet with monthly to talk about your leadership development journey
If you’re not interested in getting better, it’s time for you to stop leading.
Patrick Lencioni – author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Point # 2 – All great learners “practice” exceptionally well.
Why practice – because a professional is a person who studies and works on their trade. The best way I know to become a great leader is to intentionally work on being a better leader. What I mean by intentionally is a laser focus and plan that makes it conscious. Deliberate practice is systematic.
Leaders practice while they do their work. I don’t believe that intellectually stimulating your mind about a leadership skill, concept, or philosophy is true learning. Learning how to lead others effectively is about application.
“The biggest issue around the myth of ‘I need to learn more’ is that somehow learning and doing are mutually exclusive. And they’re not at all.” James Clear – author of Atomic Habits
Allow me to provide a simple example: suppose you determine your emotional intelligence could use a boost and you want to practice self-awareness. You realize that your awareness of specific emotional states is low, and you want to become more aware of your emotions. Once a day, you decide to list the emotions you experience, what triggered them and how intense they were. It might take 10 minutes and the result would be that your self-awareness of your emotions would increase in just 30 days of practice.
The number of skills that you could intentionally practice becoming better leaders is quite numerous. And the more time we spend practicing, the quicker you develop your skills.
Point # 3 Effective practice requires reviewing your practice.
Can you imagine a high school, college or pro football team never reviewing the tape of their games? Those who ‘review tapes’ look for every conceivable way to get better. Extraordinary leaders ask: “How well did I do during my leadership practice?” Great leaders hone the skill of reflection and journaling. If you do this well, you will dramatically increase your practice effectiveness. Life comes at us so fast that we miss deeper insights and nuggets that can happen when we reflect and journal our insights.
You could pose a series of questions to yourself and then write about them in your journal. Your journal is where you capture insights – a place that visually stimulates your brain. When you ask yourself great questions it stimulates the thinking side of the brain, and you get new insights.
Following the example in # 2, you notice that the same person consistently triggers a negative emotion, and you ask yourself why you judge them and how could you give them the benefit of the doubt. In your review time, you could ask yourself:
What emotion seems to come up the most for me? Why does that seem to happen?
Am I aware of that emotion when it arises, or do I tend to ignore it?
1. What do I think about or focus on when I strongly experience that emotion?
2. How can I experience more of it (if positive) or how can I experience less of it (if negative)?
By practicing, reflecting, and journaling, you coach yourself to greater understanding of how you lead. Think about the effort that medical professionals make to become qualified to practice medicine. As a leader, are you willing to put in the same amount of practice?
Become the leader that no one wants to leave for another job. Greatness requires a dedication to a learning process that is beyond what average people are willing to do.
“We do not learn from experience… We learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey
1. How can I dedicate myself to a consistent observation and study of leadership?
2. How can I practice my leadership skills more consistently?
3. How can I develop a habit of reflection & journaling to learn faster? Consider starting with:
a. “What were my successes this past week?”
b. “What did I learn about what works and what doesn’t?”
c. “What can I do next week to further advance my leadership practice?”
1. Peak – Secrets from The New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
2. Why You Should Keep a Work Journal – by Jessica Stillman – Inc. Magazine
3. Becoming a Student of Leadership – Making Leadership a Practice by Jeffrey Page