In any leadership role, you likely have practices for managing projects, people and relationships. These practices ensure both parties make progress and deliver on your commitments, as well as establish a rhythm for your work.
Yet just as it's important to have a work rhythm, consider that it's also important to create a leadership rhythm.
Do you have practices in place for developing your leadership skills?
Now you could assert that the way you go about managing people, projects and relationships is the way in which you manifest your leadership. However, consider that developing your leadership skills and creating a culture of leadership takes the same attention, intention and discipline that's required to develop any other skill. And developing any skill requires practice.
That’s why I suggest that you put specific practices in place to ensure your presence as a leader is felt, as well as to ensure you're intentionally continuing to develop your leadership skills and culture of leadership. It can greatly enhance your success as a leader. Here are 3 recommended weekly practices for creating a leadership rhythm:
1. Make a bold request that empowers someone to step up.
Consider that an important measure of your leadership effectiveness is the extent to which you cultivate a culture of leadership.
By consciously making bold requests of those you lead to step up to take on a new and meaningful challenge or assignment you'll empower them to step into their own leadership potential.
Keep in mind that “bold” is a relative thing. For some people a bold request could be as simple as asking someone who never speaks in meetings to speak up and offer their opinion.
And make sure you don’t limit your bold requests to those you've identified as high performers. You may be surprised by how many people are ready, willing and able to step up to a higher level of performance.
2. Recognize acts of leadership.
People pay attention to what is important to you. They'll pay particular to the actions and behaviors you acknowledge both privately and publicly.
By taking the time each week to consider who has demonstrated leadership and acknowledge the specific actions people have taken that you consider acts of leadership you demonstrate what leadership looks like in action.
Even more importantly, you'll establish an expectation of leadership among your team.
3. Ask at least one question that provokes strategic thinking with and/or among your team.
How your leadership manifests is as much a function of how you think and what you think about as it is about what you do.
All too often the strategic conversations don’t include many of the people doing the day to day work.
However, by engaging more of your team in talking about the bigger picture and cultivating their ability to think strategically you extend the impact of your leadership because it affects how they think when you aren’t there.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to developing leadership skills
By incorporating explicit practices for your leadership into your weekly and monthly practices, you'll not only enhance your own leadership, but will begin to cultivate a culture of leadership in your organization.
What practices have you or will you put in place to create your leadership rhythm?