Whether you aspire to scale a startup or run a Fortune 500 company, you need good skills to be successful. Here are three creative ways that you can develop your leadership skills that are budget-friendly and you can start to incorporate right now:
1. Interview Someone You Admire
Success leaves clues. That is one reason that grabbing a coffee, sending an email or asking for a phone call to tap the minds of the people you admire is so powerful. The good news is, most of the people you hold in high regard are successful for a reason and are only too happy to share their insights and advice to help others.
It is also a great opportunity for you to see what life looks like at levels above your current role if the candidate leader is within your company. It can spur a great conversation about what is really required at the next level, help you see the larger picture – especially as it relates to the work that you do towards the broader scale.
Pro tip: If the candidate you have identified navigates a full schedule – send questions in advance and be patient as you are fit into their calendar. Often busy leaders will make the time to share thoughts with someone who has done their homework and has a concise set of talking points for the conversation.
2. Turn Weakness Into Strengths
Recent studies from DDI which include data from more than 15,000 leaders recognize that while business degree programs develop a strong base of critical leadership skills, it is often an incomplete education. The skills where business degree-holders had a gap — compelling communication, driving for results, and inspiring excellence — may need to be developed outside of an academic program. In parallel, the data is a wake-up call for aspiring leaders to balance hard skills with human skills.
If you are looking to sharpen the human skills side of the equation, learning more about Emotional Intelligence is an important step forward.
For clever tips on preparing your speech and yourself for the stage, watch Jodie Fox, the Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Shoes of Prey in this video:
Pro tip: Melissa Thompson, Forbes Contributor & Harcourt Health Editor reminds us to identify any skills you’re weak in and work to become better in these areas. Here’s a clever way of turning a weakness into a strength that Thompson uses.
3. Identify A Key Project That Will Help Your Organization
Because the best ideas for innovation or cost savings often come from people executing the daily projects, this option is a win/win opportunity.
By formally developing a project or initiative that would benefit your organization and then presenting to other leaders along with stakeholders, it will develop your ability to identify important opportunities along with the ability to “sell it” while influencing leadership.
Areas of success could range from ‘optimizing employee onboarding’ to ‘creating a process to capture innovative ideas’
A closer look at why an onboarding project would be important to several departments within an organization – PwC estimates that the cost of losing an employee in the first year can be up to three times the person’s salary. That’s a loss of £42bn ($63.3bn) in the UK alone.
These are significant figures. But what does this mean for your organizations future? It means that it is critical to invest in formal onboarding early on. The alternative is you’ll be contributing to the above figure (on a global basis) through employee turnover.
As your career progresses remember to develop your team.
Good individual contributors, as well as group managers, can deliver a project within budget and on time. A leader seeks to improve processes and enables team members to grow by taking on development opportunities. This includes providing the training and resources that help ensure their success within companies of all sizes.
Specifically, Princeton professor Derek Lidow, writes that it is critical in the scaling of a startup to “Provide people with opportunities for professional growth and career advancement. Unless individuals can grow, your company can’t. They will either leave or fail to create self-sustaining processes.”
Do you have a favorite leadership development tip that has helped you in your career? If so, thanks in advance for taking a moment to share your thoughts with our audience by adding a comment below.
This article originally appeared in ThinkPositiveMag.com