Every successful singer has a singing coach, and top singers often give master classes. The principle is just the same for leaders. You learn better leadership skills by being coached, and you develop those skills further by coaching others.
Leaders must continually assess their performance and like for ways to improve and extend their skills. A great deal can be learned by simply observing others whose behavior appears to get results. A mentor will provide informal guidance where needed, or you may choose a more formal avenue of learning such as a training programmed.
1. Always be on the look-out for chances to learn valuable lessons.
2. Take a refresher course if you feel you need to brush up on rusty skills.
Using Formal Training
Even leaders with years of on-the-job experience can benefit from some formal training from time to time. Outside training gives you an opportunity to get away from day-to-day activities, and provides a fresh perfective. Use training to keep abreast of current trends and to brush up on or acquire specific skills. Do not wait to be asked – assess your strengths and weaknesses and put yourself forward for courses that match your needs.
personal director explains new trends
leader gains an insight into how trends may affect the organization
Take advantage of colleagues’ expertise in specific areas to broaden your own skills. You can learn the great deal from people with an in-depth knowledge of their field.
Training others provides a valuable source of education in the skills needed to become an effective leader, such as communicating clearly, giving instructions, getting feedback, delegating, motivating, and developing people. Always ask for feedback from those who are coaching – they can provide useful insights into your own performance. Share your experience and expertise with other people to help you to clarify your own attitude, beliefs, and priorities, and to analyze your own performance. Use any time spent coaching your staff to discover their needs, what motivates them, and how they respond to your leadership style. Develop skills in other people to enable you to delegate some of your tasks, leaving more time available for you to spend on activities that will improve your own skills as a leader.
3. Use coaching sessions to learn as well as teach.
4. Set an example to your staff by being trained yourself.
Learn new skills, develop existing ones, and use your knowledge and experience to benefit colleagues. In this way, you will improve performance all-around.
Learn – Coach – Raise performance
Gordon asked jean, one of his second level managers, to produce a report that involved a degree of financial knowledge. He took it for granted that she understood the basics of management accounting, and was unpleasantly surprised to find that jean had made many errors through ignorance. Since time was pressing, and since this was work that came easily to him. Gordon rewrote the report and passed it on. Jean asked for an interview. She was angry, and Gordon assumed that this was because he had taken over writing the report. But jean was cross for a different reason. As she said, “How do you expect me to learn if you don’t tell me what I’ve done wrong?” Gordon realized that he had failed jean. He set aside time to coach her in management accounting, and also sent her on a course in finance.
BEING A GOOD COACH
Taking over the task that he has assigned to jean seemed the easy option to Gordon. But he learned from his experience that he had avoided the important issue. He was looking at the problem in a short term, rather than focusing and helping jean to improve her skills and perform better in future. He realized that training people was more productive than doing everything himself.