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BK Magazine BK Business
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Steve Arneson knows leadership development better than most. Prior to becoming an executive coach, Steve was Senior VP, Executive Talent Management and Development for Capital One and played a principal role in Capital One being named by Hewitt and Fortune magazine as one of the Top 20 Companies for Leaders between 2005 and 2008.
Before joining Capital One, Steve was VP of Organizational Effectiveness at America Online (AOL) and VP of People Development for Time Warner Cable. Prior to AOL, Steve worked as Senior Director of People Development for PepsiCo.
Have a look at Steve's list of the five things you can do immediately to develop your leadership skills that won't cost a dime:
1. Document your leadership journey. One of the most insightful things you can do as a leader is to look back at your own career, and identify meaningful “lessons learned” from your experiences. Packaging these lessons into a crisp “story” gives you a powerful presentation about your growth and development as a leader.
2. Confront your hardest-held positions. Admitting to yourself where you’re “dug in” on issues or positions can be a great way to open your mind to alternative solutions. Make a list of all of your most hardened beliefs, and brainstorm other points of view - it can help you become a more well-rounded leader.
3. Practice your coaching skills. Coaching is very different from giving directions or merely providing feedback. Coaching puts you in a facilitative frame of mind, where your goal is to help others examine problems or find their own solutions. Coaching involves asking questions, and can set you apart as a manager. People love to work for a leader who is also a great coach.
4. Get to know your team. Too many leaders are afraid to learn about their team members beyond the job. Don’t make that mistake - get to know your people. Take an interest in their personal lives, their hopes and dreams, their families and hobbies. Interview them about their lives beyond work, and see what happens. People want to work for someone who cares about them as individuals, not just as employees.
5. Reflect on your leadership. Every day, ask yourself three questions as you commute home - “how did I show up as a leader today?” “What did I communicate today?” “Who did I develop today?” If you keep your leadership top-of-mind and self-evaluate about how others are experiencing your leadership, you’ll become a more effective leader.