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Mel Gravely
May-12-2016

The Importance of a Leadership Plan

Woman Leading MeetingWe all know someone who is a good leader. However, ask us what makes them a good leader and you might hear crickets. Leaders are kind of like fine art. We can recognize it and know if we like it, but we often have a hard time explaining why. Moreover, if pinpointing what makes someone else an effective leader is difficult, it’s even more difficult to recognize and nurture it in ourselves. That’s why we recommend a Leadership Plan.

Realizing your potential as a leader and creating a Leadership Plan can help you become more confident in the workplace, at home or in any social situation. As we talked about in our blog, “The Five Abilities of An Effective Leader,” there are certain skills that are hallmarks of good leaders, the ability to self-manage, to recognize connections, build substantial relationships, leading the way with service, and having the ability to produce results.

A Leadership Plan is designed to assess your strengths and weaknesses in all the abilities that are paramount for effective leaders. One of the first steps of that plan is to ask yourself a few framing questions.

What is most important to you about your job?
What things do you value the most when it comes to where you work, things like benefits, your coworkers, upward mobility, or service to others.

How are you motivated to succeed at work?
Is there an incentive to what you do? If you perform well do the higher ups take notice and congratulate you in some manner (a raise, promotion or even free lunch).

What are your top two professional strengths?
Being able to list your strengths and then meet with your manager to confirm can prove your ability to see the bigger picture.

What are your top two professional weaknesses?
With weaknesses, being able to recognize what you need to work on proves that you are able to self manage. If you can pinpoint the areas that need improvement, you can go through and reevaluate how to build them up so that they become strengths.

When are you most frustrated when it comes to work?
This is something that pinpoints your ability to self manage. If you know what areas of the job make you the most frustrated, it is easy to walk into one of those situations and just breathe. Frustration happens, but dealing with it with grace shows that you have the strength to be a leader.

By answering the above questions, you should gain a better understanding of what areas you are already good at, what needs improvement, and what motivates you. We encourage you to write down your answers, not just think about them. The simple act of writing it down can make a big difference in formalizing your Leadership Plan and allowing you to see things about yourself that you may not have noticed before.

After that, we recommend that you aim to gain as much knowledge as you can about your organization, its goals, and its practices. Read anything you can get your hands on – employee manuals, progress reports, press releases, etc. This will help you experience other areas in your company and be ready to utilize your knowledge to make new connections in those areas.

As you continue to work through your weaknesses and strengths, it’s important to take the time to self-evaluate along the way. Update your Leadership Plan frequently by keeping record of which knowledge and tasks have been the most valuable to making connections and building relationships.

For example, if you have a situation arise at work that comes up as one of your weak points, you’ll be better able to observe and internalize any possible solutions. Those solutions should move you forward on your path to leadership, whether it’s dealing with a coworker, your boss, or a parent.

A Leadership Plan itself will help you build your ability to self manage and recognize connections. You’ll be able to create and strengthen your working relationships, as well as lead the way with service. All of this will produce results and you’ll be able to recognize that you are a leader.

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