7 Excellent Ways To Improve Your Leadership Skills!

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Did you know that there are 7 really effective yet powerful ways to improve your leadership learning opportunities?

If you have ever looked at using a leadership skills training program, you probably have run smack into one or more of the following problems:

- leadership training will usually cost you some serious money - in fact, some programs are outrageously expensive

- leadership training programs last for a very short time - quite a few of them run for only one or two days

- many leadership training programs fail to give you some way to support or help you meet your daily challenges

- less than 1% of all leadership training programs couple coaching and mentoring follow-ups with classroom sessions

- most leadership training programs like to do 'raw data dumps'- the vast majority of them do NOT give you chances to 'blend' your learning experiences with supervised practice

This article will help you to find, use and take advantage of every leadership skills learning opportunity you encounter - you will be able to employ your leadership skills in highly effective, more creative and powerful ways.

Power Strategy - 1 -- Make sure you get clearly defined and significant returns on your training investment!

When you spend your money on training are you looking for entertainment, engagement or education?

I don't know about your priorities but I know that I demand a ton of convincing to invest in training of any sort.

I want to get much more from training than I put into it. Of course, your training program certainly needs to contain some entertaining and even engaging aspects to it.

If you want the temporary benefits of watching an action adventure movie or taking a walk in the park then go for it - but if you need to see your career prospects blossom and vibrantly grow stronger, your training investment must deliver more than a mere 100% payback [I suggest you look for programs that guarantee you returns of at least 300%].

Power Strategy - 2 -- Spend your money to make more money

Strategy 1 instructed you to seek guaranteed returns on your investment. Of course, that does mean that you do need to invest your money to get a return on it!

What am I saying? I am not telling you to spend all of your money for leadership training, however I am advising you to make wise investments of your money. So what does that mean?

Wisdom says you need to look at every training program as a continuing investment in both your current and future performance. So doesn't it make sense to you that you need to pay for training on a continuing basis?

Leadership training prices should be reasonable and based on your desire to pay for those incremental benefits that you are likely to receive from your training program over a period of time.

Power Strategy - 3 -- See the long view of your training needs

We already discussed the continuing nature of training. Do you believe that learning is a lifelong exercise? If so, how do you expect to learn anything of lasting value in just 1 or 2 days?

Many leadership training programs feature these short term exposures to the complex job of leading others and yourself. I wonder how you are supposed to master the diverse arts, practices and processes of leadership in less than 12 hours?

In those kinds of workshops and seminars, you are told that you will come away from the classroom with an in-depth understanding of 15 or 20 topics - yeah, sure you will!

By now, it should be obvious to you that the most effective leadership training requires LONG-TERM continuous, committed and caring support, follow-ups and assessments from your training provider.

Power Strategy - 4 -- Get the most that you can from every training day!

I can hear you talking to yourself - you're thinking that you only need to get the most out of everyday you participate in a training class, aren't you?

Since you have spent your money on a training class, you would be foolish not to get the most from that investment.

However, I would like you to consider the fact that everyday that you're alive is a day for learning, practicing and mastering new skills, knowledge and principles.

If you maintain a daily diary or journal, you should strive to write down your learning-oriented accomplishments. You would enter the principle, skill, knowledge [applicable, relevant and practical information you found - not just mere facts and figures but useful, valuable and profit-producing know-how].

Power Strategy - 5 -- Be open to being helped

Many times, people in leadership training hold the mistaken belief that only their teachers know how to help them learn leadership skills and principles.

If someone wants to weave you an elaborate tale of how only other leaders can show you the 'ropes' or that only those buttoned-down, up-and-coming junior executive-types can show you how to charge into the fray and take no prisoners then you're in for a surprise.

Not everyone who has gone before you knows how to lead or knows what they're doing in this new age of knowledge - so you can forget all those myths and nursery stories right now!

When you break free from assumptions like those mentioned above, you will see how people operating in various walks of life and those working in different professions or sectors of the economy from yours can and will add rich, colorful textures to your tapestry of leadership.

Helpers of all sorts can contribute to your understanding of their cultures, operational paradigms and traditional practices - these people can be found all around you.

How can your peers, subordinates and non-leaders empower your leadership development? It's your task to learn how.

Power Strategy - 6 -- Reach out and grab a basketful of support

The journey towards leadership maturity may begin with a single step but you'll need a thousand other things to carry you along your way.

Your leadership adventure will have to be fueled by sustenance of many kinds:

- A written record of your challenges and encounters will help you stay focused and encouraged

- Interactions and exchanges with your fellow travellers will maintain your sanity and stability

- Confessional and consultative sessions with your advisers will strengthen your resolve and faith

- Daily inspirational readings and pep-talks will energize you and feed your soul

- Meditations and prayers will uplift your spirit and enable your inner being to soar with wings of eagles

Power Strategy - 7 -- Get your acting cues from the director

In essence, a coach is similar to the director of a motion picture - coaches prompt, instruct, direct and intensely encourage us to move towards our goals.

You have a better chance of becoming the leader you were destined to be with a coach working alongside of you. Of course you still need a structured course of learning and teachers who will help increase your knowledge and tutor you.

A coach will instill a sense of accountability in you, your coach will keep the bar raised so that you become accustomed to striving for the highest possible performance.

In your development as a leader, your coach will be instrumental in helping you examine yourself candidly and rigorously. After a time, you will come to see your coach as the person who showed you the meaning of reaching for the prize.


Most successful leaders agree that these kinds of approaches to leadership development work precisely because they became world-class leaders through using techniques, tools and resources like the ones you just read about.

Change management expert, Holger Nauheimer, explains how our dynamically-charged, ever-shifting, global-landscape, calls for a new spirit of development, "in which individuals, the members of organizations, experience self-determination and personal growth - and participate in creating a world around them to which they want to belong."

Recently reported results in the Wharton School's Leadership Digest, of a comprehensive study of leadership failures, the following recommendations were given to help promising leaders avoid potential pitfalls: it suggested that, they

- "should create development plans and opportunities for promising internal candidates;

- should reflect carefully on their own experiences and, throughout the course of their careers, seek out opportunities to develop their context skills;

- determine the level of support they'll need from their predecessor, and perform an intense self-assessment to determine what other organizational support they will need"

- Experienced firefighter, Lynn Biddison, says the number one priority for new leaders is: "Establish a rigorous training plan for [yourself and] your people"

The last but most important "Power Strategy" I will share with you is this -

Be sure to increase the richness, texture, luster, power and scope, depth, capacity, value-added, quality and competencies of your leadership development experiences on a daily basis!

Seek and find only those training programs that can help you fulfill the objectives of these Power Strategies and you will make laudable, noteworthy and legendary contributions to your community, organization and our world.

Mustard Seed Investments Inc. Copyright ? 2004-2005, All rights reserved



Bill Thomas publishes "The Leadership Toolkit" - an affordable, all-in-one, interactive, self-paced training program - it will energize your leadership skills, boost your creativity and transform you into a persuasive, empowering leader. Inspire Confidence, Be Creative, Elevate Your Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need To Lead!"

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