I’m a firm believer that while a few great leaders (Eisenhower, Welch, Reagan) are born to the role, the vast majority of successful leaders have grown and/or been tutored into their roles. Leadership is indeed something that can be nurtured and learned, but only if the right environment is created to help current and future leaders develop their skills.
So what should you take away from the series?
If you’re currently running organizations, companies, or teams of any size, take away a commitment to better yourself as a leader. Take a long, hard, honest look at yourself and figure out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Don’t forget to work on those things that are wrong! Also, take a look at how your organization’s supporting your growth as a leader. Reach out to your own leaders and ask for help with your leadership development.
If you’re not in a leadership position yet, then take away a commitment to think about how you can work to develop your leadership skills. You’ll be called up at some point, so be ready to step in to a leadership gig when it arrives. How are your communication skills, particularly when you’re trying to convince others of your position? Are you treating others with respect? Are you asking for more responsibility, and executing on that?
Regardless of where you’re at in your career, I’d challenge you to help raise awareness of the many problems our organizations face in developing future leaders. Encourage your organization to create mentoring programs that are more than just a free lunch once a month. Encourage your management and leadership to get serious about coming up with plans to groom future leaders, because more likely than not they’re dropping the ball in a bad way on that right now.
This series has been very rewarding to me personally as I’ve written it, because it’s forced me to do a self-retrospective on a wide range of my own habits. I’ve come up with a number of things to work on, and that exercise is always a good one to go through.
I’d also like to thank folks who’ve shared their thoughts on the series here on this blog, mail, or via Twitter. Your feedback and kind words have been greatly appreciated.
A complete listing of all articles in this series can be found here.