The Fall Leadership Toolkit
My daughter headed off to school for Fall the last week of August and she brought two big bags of school supplies with her to ensure her success over the year. There was a range of supplies from dictionaries in English, French and Spanish to basics like binders, paper, and pencils. Just like students heading back to school, there are several tools that can ensure your success as a leader this fall.
Here are tools that will round out your leadership toolkit this fall:
Time Blocking– If it’s important, but not urgent, schedule it or it will never get done or not done well. Strategic thinking takes time and bouncing from meeting to meeting and fire to fire won’t allow you to apply your best critical thinking to a problem or creating a new strategy. Block chunks of time by setting a meeting with yourself in your schedule from one hour to half-days and you’ll start accomplishing what matters most.
Learning Resources – Leaders are readers and a wealth of reading material to continue to develop as a leader will expose you to new thinking. In my recent Forbes article, Four Skillsets You Can Always Work On To Improve As A Leader, I highlighted four of my current favourite leadership books:
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle – Want to know the elements of amazing team culture no matter what the values list on the wall says? This book walks you through those elements along with practical actions to enhance the culture within your team.
Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud – If there is a lineup outside your door (or a virtual lineup), you’re struggling to get your team on follow-through, or your mind is spinning when you hit the pillow at night, boundaries might be something to explore.
Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck – How you talk to yourself matters. There is a great difference between “I can’t do that” and “I can’t do that, yet” or “I have to” and “I want to”. Carol Dweck makes the case using stories to help us see that anything can be learned even leadership if you come with a growth mindset and shows you how to get there.
The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp – Moving away from being an unconscious and reactive leader on autopilot and towards conscious choice to create for the future leads to long-term sustainable results for you, your team and the organization. This book will show you how to step into conscious leadership with courage.
Feedback and Coaching Models – These support you in delegating effectively and having tough conversations when things don’t go according to plan. Use simple models like the S-B-I model for feedback or our Establish Focus – Explore – Plan – Commitment model for coaching. Another great feedback tool is the Engaged Feedback Checklist from Brené Brown.
Recharge Process – How do you transition to and from the workplace? What are your practices to recharge your energy? I have clients who ensure they have regular exercise but others who need quiet time alone each evening. Another reads fantasy books at bedtime and one who cross country ski’s alone once a week in the winter. One rides his motorcycle, and another goes to church. We all recharge differently and establishing boundaries and consistent habits around what recharges you is an important item in your leadership toolkit.
Support System – Leadership is vulnerable territory with no right answers, criticism from any direction, the pressure to achieve impactful results while also bringing your team, peers, and stakeholders along with you. It can be a lonely and exhausting role without a strong personal support team around you. Establish diverse mentors, industry peers, a coach, a therapist, some key friends to surround yourself with. Many leaders we work with come to us using their spouse as their only support. While your partner is a great source of support, it’s not effective for them to be your only support as this can negatively impact your relationship over the long term and gives you only one additional perspective.
I hope these tools help you navigate leadership success with confidence this fall. What else needs to be added to your toolkit? If you’re not sure, give us a call, we can help.