Take a moment, right now — how would you rate yourself as a leader? How effective do you find your leadership skills? Do you feel you're the leader you want to be, or would you rate yourself "needs improvement"?
Leadership skills should be ever-evolving and developing. Of course, from time to time, we can find ourselves in a rut of bad habits. That's when some self-assessment can help shake you out of your routine, and perhaps open you up to something new. Here are three points to help you reassess the current state of your leadership skills, and some suggestions for next steps:
1. A matter of trust: No one can, or should, do it all. And no one leads in a vacuum. If you find you can't remove yourself from even the smallest aspect of your work, you may be having a trust issue with those around you. The tricky thing about a trust issue is that it needs to be a two-way street — you've got to give trust to others to get trust in return. Take a look at the relationships around you, and see if you notice any that are weak or challenging.Observe what's on your plate from day to day. Ask yourself:
- Are there "clean up" activities I wish I could get rid of?
- Am I spending too much time putting out fires?
- Is there a team member(s) that consistently comes up short?
Then, employ some of your self-awareness skills to dig deeper for yourself. Are you giving as much trust and support as you expect in return? Are you allowing people to make mistakes and learn from them, or are people to frightened to make decisions for themselves? Do you keep an open door to them when they need you, or are you too overwhelmed? It could be you.
However, as I said, it's a two-way street. If you find you've done your level best to help your team member shine, and they're still struggling, you may want to sit down with them and schedule more structured, regular check-ins between the two of you. Let them voice their concerns, and do the same yourself.
Of course, it's also important to remember that not every business relationship works out, and that's ok. But before you write off an employee with potential, assess the state of trust in the relationship.
2. How's the balancing act going?: Your work is important — but so is your life. Neglecting one for the other can lead to problems down the road. But finding a satisfactory relationship between your work and personal lives can be extraordinarily difficult. In order for you to be at your best for your team, you've got to take care of yourself, and not just your work.
- Am I satisfied when it comes to the way I deal with my work and life?
- Does one portion of my life dominate, while one gets neglected?
- Has this been a pattern for a long time, or is this a recent shift?
As the study of Emotional Intelligence teaches us, it's nearly impossible to keep one part of your life from bleeding into another. And that doesn't necessarily need to be negative — positivity can carry over between your work and personal lives, as well! But if you're struggling, you might be taking this struggle to your team. If you want to work on improving your work/life satisfaction, our Ask an Expert webinar with Jones Loflin is a great place to start. (You can watch Emotional Intelligence and Work/Life Satisfaction here.)
3. Get creative: Are you a creative leader? Creativity is essential not only for innovation and problem solving, but also to foster collaboration between team members and leadership. Reach for new ideas and solutions, and open it up to everyone to contribute. Creativity can open doors for you and your team that might not even be on your radar.
- Do I only stick to the tried-and-true options, at all times?
- Do I look for input from others, in both positive and challenging scenarios?
- When new ideas arise, am I willing to give them a try whenever possible?
True creativity requires a leap of faith that, if taken, means you can break through to new frontiers while building up that trust we talked about earlier. The benefits far outweigh the challenges of that leap.
I'd love to hear from you! Tell me how your leadership skills development is going in the comments.
Watch our webinar with Time Management and Work/Life Satisfaction Expert Jones Loflin by clicking below: