Here is a five-step process for learning better leadership skills. These steps focus primarily on listening skills, once again requiring both listening to oneself and to others (including through self-awareness, empathic listening, 360 feedbacks, and coaching).
Step one is identifying one’s ideal self, which is to say, uncovering and listening to one’s core values and beliefs to draw a picture of the person one aspires to be. What’s important to me? What am I passionate about? What does my “gut” say to me?
Step two is identifying the real self, which is to say, discovering how one appears to others, regardless of how one sees one’s self. (For the uninitiated: people who have tried this sometimes find the two views startlingly different.) This is done by listening to one’s self (self awareness) and others (empathy) to gauge the effect one is having, as well as through coaching and 360 feedback from peers, subordinates, supervisors, customers, and others.
Comparing one’s ideal self to one’s real self is a powerful tool because it helps identify strengths (where one is as capable in areas as one expected to be) and gaps (where one isn’t as effective as one desires to be). For example, a manager might think that he is strong in both listening and in follow-through, while the people the manager works with might find him strong in listening but desire improvement in his follow-through.
Step three is to make a plan to build on strengths and reduce gaps. One obviously needn’t be strong in every area – realistically, no one is – but one may choose to improve in respects that one considers important.
Step four is to experiment deliberately with and practice new skills (thinking out-of-the-box i.e., attitude) to bring about change according to one’s step three, plan.
Step five – should take place concurrently with steps one through four – is to develop trusting, encouraging relationships (behavior) that provide support during the learning process.
In summary, advanced listening techniques, both listening to oneself and to others are essential to learning to become, and being, an effective leader.
How do you use your listening skills? Have you been successful in those efforts? How can I be of help to you?
Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the founder and president of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. His company is dedicated to helping organizations and individuals manage strategic change, innovation, cultural transition, and goal achievement. Surya has over 26 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. Contact Surya at s6ganduri@eMBCinc.com. For more information, visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.