It is good to strive for a position of leadership if your heart is in the right place. Good leaders can make a big difference to the organization they are in, positively affecting the people around them.
But despite such good intentions, not all leaders are able to stay in their position. While some do succeed, other very promising leaders lose their job, get demoted, or even choose to quit their organization. The following are some very useful steps to improve one’s role as a leader.
Helpful Steps for Establishing Leadership Development Goals
1. Adopt the Organization’s Culture
Some leaders come into an organization with the hope of stamping their own mark. Though this may work in some situations, many times it just causes friction with the people around, leading to a quick boot out the door.
Rather than attempting to go against the company culture, it is often best to work within it. If the group that one leads within the organization has positive values to share, it can be made public in the right way without breaking any rules or stepping on others’ toes. One should be willing to discuss the group’s performance with superiors, and respectfully defend the group’s actions if there is a need to, or be humble enough to accept criticism.
2. Know One’s Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses
No one is perfect. A leader should know what they do best and where they need improvement. Some, for example, may be able to organize things well and see the big picture, but fail in motivating their staff to achieve more; hence, the need for personal reflection.
But after pondering upon one’s strengths and weaknesses, it is necessary to validate these by checking in with one’s superiors, peers, subordinates, and clients. This is termed 360 feedback. Once such feedback has been received, it is then necessary to create a plan to overcome one’s weak points, and then ask for 360 feedback again after a few months’ time to determine if there has been a real improvement.
Though this requires some vulnerability, as not all feedback will be positive, it also fosters better camaraderie and respect as those around may view such a move as a way to become better for the sake of the team and company. To ensure that such feedback will not have too negative an effect on oneself or others, it should be kept confidential and not be used for work evaluation, as there are other management tools meant for that.
3. Involve the Others
Some leaders make the mistake of doing almost everything themselves. Not only does this add to one’s stress level, but it also affects the growth of the members. Proper delegation of tasks is needed to get all involved.
When possible, it helps to have individualized responsibilities based on the needs of the team so that tasks are not always overlapping, a big reason for laziness or confusion about who is to do what. It is also good to rotate these responsibilities, after a reasonable amount of time, so that everyone learns new skills.
Moreover, proper team involvement requires that the team’s goals are aligned to the company’s and that the work is monitored well. Team incentives, both tangible and non-tangible, can also help boost productivity and efficiency.
4. Manage Stress Well
A big “enemy” of workers worldwide, especially for those in leadership positions, is stress. Not only does stress adversely affect health in many ways, but it also saps one’s enthusiasm and love for the job, causing bigger problems down the road.
Though it may be very tempting to just go home and sleep after a tough day at the office, leaders need to find healthy ways to manage stress. A proper diet, exercise, and planned leisure times are the usual approach for most. These need to be regularly done for maximum effect. However, a more prayerful life is also a good way to ease the spirit, especially when the issues in the workplace are more difficult than usual.
5. Strengthen Relationships
Good leaders know that people matter. When relationships are sour, many difficulties arise within the team and the company. But when relationships are healthy and strong, employees are focused, conflicts are resolved amicably, and negotiations (inside and outside the organization) are better handled.
This, however, requires proactive effort to reach out, as well as a lot of patience, sensitivity, and understanding. It is not easy but it can be done.
6. Be Vigilant
Some studies have noted that leaders may fail when they have certain negative characteristics such as overconfidence, too much self-importance, and the tendency to take risks. While leaders are supposed to be strong, when such “strength” causes them to cross the line then problems will occur.
One should always be vigilant to ensure that they are not overstepping their boundaries or mishandling their position.
7. Get Help When Needed
Despite doing one’s best to self-reflect and obtain feedback about oneself, sometimes it can still be difficult to reach that next level as a leader. Laziness, apathy, or even arrogance can prevent a leader from developing fully. In such cases, outside help may be necessary.
With a personal coach to guide them, a leader may be encouraged to finally address the aspects that need addressing. Such a mentor may be also able to help them think outside the box so that they can attain their full potential.
Seek Christian Counseling to Improve as a Leader
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:6-7
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
Though secular personal coaches can be helpful to an extent, many find that it is more beneficial to seek help from Christian counseling. Similar to other personal coaches, the Christian counselor will work closely with the client to understand their strengths and weaknesses and push them to improve in the needed areas. But most importantly, the faith-based counselor will also focus on improving the client’s relationship with God, through prayer and meditation on Scripture, to truly strengthen the inner self.
There are many pitfalls in leadership. Though good at the start, some end up embracing the darker side of power, causing them to fail spectacularly. It is only through a strong relationship with Christ that one can overcome the temptation of power and move forward in one’s leadership duties despite the many obstacles leaders usually face.
If you or a friend needs help establishing leadership development goals, seek Christian counseling soon. Only Christ can transform into the leader you are meant to be.
“Team”, Courtesy of Rawpixel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Full Focus”, Courtesy of Tim Gouw, Unsplash.com; CC0 License; “Helping Hand”, Courtesy of Dane Deaner, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Teamwork,” courtesy of rawpixel.com, unsplash.com, CC0 License