A helpful way to think about developing as a leader is the idea of a leadership development journey. This is the process by which you will travel from your current level of leadership skills to achieve your goal.
Developing your skills and capabilities as a leader takes time and effort. It should be a structured process, informed by an overall strategy with a clear idea about what you hope to achieve.
What is a leadership development journey?
A leadership development journey is a well-considered and directed approach to developing leadership skills and capabilities. It begins with a review of current capabilities and involves a systematic process of growth and learning.
The aim of the process is to help leaders and potential leaders develop skills that enable them to take on greater responsibilities and become more effective in their role. A leadership development journey should be understood as a long-term process underpinned by a sustained commitment to continuous improvement, learning and self-reflection.
A tailored, flexible leadership development program will usually play a key role in any leadership development journey.
What should be included in a leadership development journey?
Every successful leadership development journey begins with self-assessment and personal reflection. This helps the individual to build up a realistic picture of their strengths, weaknesses, values, and aspirations. This also identifies where the individual needs to improve and the skills they need to work towards. To help them achieve this, they should set clear, measurable goals that align with their leadership aspirations.
A leadership development journey centres continuous learning through a variety of means, whether that’s self-directed study, workshops, seminars, or courses to continually expand your knowledge.
Experienced mentors and coaches can help the individual develop their skills and achieve their goals and will usually play a key role in any leadership development journey.
A leadership development journey will also include networking, taking on new challenges, continuous evaluation, and adjustments for ongoing improvement.
What are the steps of a leadership development journey?
Each leadership development journey is individual but will usually include the following steps:
- Self-Reflection: Assess your strengths and weaknesses and identify areas you need to improve.
- Goal Setting: Define specific and measurable goals for your leadership development.
- Identify Learning Opportunities: Explore various learning avenues to enhance your skills and knowledge.
- Work With a Mentor or Coach: Find a mentor or coach who can help guide and support your growth.
- Feedback & Reflection: Actively seek feedback and take time to reflect on your leadership development, the impact you’re having and how you’re moving towards your goals.
- Gain Practical Experience: Take on new challenges and leadership roles to apply your learning.
- Network and Collaborate: Connect with other leaders to exchange ideas and build a support network.
- Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to your development plan.
Remember that leadership development is an ongoing process, and your journey should evolve and adapt as you gain experience and face new challenges. Embrace the opportunities for growth and be proactive in shaping your leadership potential.