What is a “breakthrough”? For purposes of this post, let’s define a breakthrough as something that is significantly better than the current way of doing something. In the ‘old days’, I had to get out of my car, unlock the garage door, and lift it manually to park the car in the garage. Today most of us take for granted, using a wireless remote control to open the garage door – breakthrough! Albert Einstein said:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
A great way to start a breakthrough is to think differently! Changing your way of thinking about how to develop yourself can also lead to breakthroughs. Reflect on these three new ways of thinking to create a breakthrough in your leadership development:
Learning more about leadership is not as valuable as practicing leadership skills.
Most people have grown up in educational systems that challenge them to learn what they do not know. ‘Students’ learn ideas and concepts and information but rarely are challenged to develop competency. So, it is no surprise that most people don’t know how to do ‘development’ and naturally think that learning how to be a great leader will make them a better leader.
Practicing leadership hypothetically is not as helpful as practicing while you do your work.
Any ‘practice’ is a good idea but the best practice is on the job. To be a better leader you should notice how you do things, especially your practice sessions. Making notes in a leadership development journal about what is working and what is ‘not’, is how a leader in development ‘practices’. Leadership development should not be separate from your daily work.
Improving weaknesses is less effective than developing strengths.
Effective leadership development begins with an assessment. Unfortunately, most people use assessments to identify things we need to fix. Only secondary effort goes into identifying strengths. It’s counter-intuitive to receive feedback and only identify strengths. Our biggest concern is; “what am I not doing well” or “what am I not aware of that I need to fix”. Very few people think; “what are my strengths and how can I better use them”? Those who develop into extraordinary leaders ask the latter question.
Great leaders continually learn, grow, and change. They are intentional about their development and make great strides throughout their career. Rapid development occurs when the person chooses one thing to develop and makes progress every week. Find the one thing you should be developing and develop a practice plan.
- Are you more inclined to fix weaknesses or build strengths? Why is that your tendency?
- Do you know which leadership strengths could improve your leadership effectiveness?
- Do you have someone who can help you develop a ‘practice plan’ to rapidly develop your skills?
Leadership coaching helps serious leaders answer these questions.