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The Path to Effective Leadership

August 25, 2017
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These days, it seems everyone is so busy that most don’t have time to work on self-development. Both large and small organizations that we work with tell us all the time that their leaders don’t have time to develop because they are so busy with the administrative aspects of their jobs.

Even worse, some organizations are seeing a large gap between leadership and coaching skills at the manager/director level. I recently delivered a training session to a group of 20 executives and asked a series of questions. I asked the group to raise their hand if they do any of these things:

  1. How many of you block of time for self-development at least once a week?

  2. How many of you block of time for self-development at least once a month?

  3. How many of you block of time for self-development at least once a quarter?

  4. How many of you block of time for self-development at least once a year?

Not a single executive raised his/her hand. It was clear that this was an effective and hard-working group. However - and we see this in all types of organizations across all industries - they don’t prioritize self-development. 

I would argue that you can’t help others until you help yourself. Leaders need to make sure they are developing, which, in turn, will develop and engage those who report to them. Of course, nothing is quite that easy, but it is a good start. 

Whether you are an accomplished leader, a high potential employee, an emerging leader, a new leader, or an individual contributor who one day aspires to be a leader, we all need tips and guidance throughout our respective journeys. Even the most effective leaders can have off days where they forget some of the easiest and most effective leadership practices. We know that leaders are busy, and sometimes convincing them (or the organization) to take time for themselves is an uphill battle. 

To that end, we devised a strategy to easily push effective and simple leadership tips to the leader. We wanted to make sure leaders spent at least one to two minutes twice a week thinking about leadership and effective tips. If we could get their attention for four minutes per week, that would equate to over 3.5 hours of self-development per year. To many, that seems like a VERY small amount of time. However, when we compare it to zero hours of self-development, we are definitely headed in the right direction. 

Take a peek at some tips we’ve given in the past:

  • Practice active listening. During your next meeting, remind yourself to listen more than you speak. Reframe what others are saying to demonstrate your understanding. Ask relevant questions and engage others in the room who may not be as comfortable voicing their opinions.

  • Empower Others. When people feel empowered, they are more likely to work harder and pay attention to details.

  • Inspire Motivation. When communicating with your team, frame ideas as bigger concepts. Putting things in a broader framework creates a unifying directive for people. Creating a sense of a goal that is larger than the task at hand is motivating to people.

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Paul Glatzhofer Paul Glatzhofer is the VP of Talent Solutions based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI Services LLC. He works primarily with organizations that are implementing global assessment and development systems at the leadership level. Paul’s work includes leadership development, leadership skills training, coaching, leadership and executive selection, turnover and ROI analysis, and ongoing feedback development.