Updated: Aug 27, 2018
After doing a survey of several of Harvard University's leader development courses, the following trends became apparent. There is a lot to say, but I tried to keep it to 450 words. Leader Development requires 4 things.
1. Find Technical Solutions: For many problems you may face as a leader, there is likely to be a solution out there. Many are listed as answers to this post. Be wary that some problems you face are not actually problems to be solved, but challenges to be worked through. Some people may experience the same situation as a technical problem while others may find it to be an adaptive challenge (See Below).
2. Work Through Adaptive Processes: For those challenges that are really complex, and don’t seem to have ready solutions, you may need to accept that they require a change in values, beliefs, and attitudes for you and those you work with. The following are ways to work through adaptive challenges.
3. Work Through Societal and Cultural Assumptions: We are brought up to believe certain things.
a. Example 1: We motivate others. This is false, we shape environments where people have the space to feel greater levels of intrinsic motivation.
b. Example 2: Leadership is a position, OR one day I will be a leader. This is false. Leadership is an action, not a position. You can make acts of leadership, regardless of your position.
4. Work Through Personal Assumptions: Our brains are learning machines. They are constantly creating shortcuts to keep us safe. These shortcuts often hold us back from making acts of leadership.
a. Example 1: In meetings I don’t speak up when I have something to say. Ask yourself, “What is the (worst or most important) thing that would happen for me if I did speak up?” Take that answer and ask the same question again. Do this for a total of 3 times. This will help you identify your personal assumptions.
b. Example 2: During conversations with others, I am constantly in my head, having a number of feelings and thoughts. I am not truly paying attention to the person who is speaking. You may try a similar technique to the previous example, “If I were to pay 100% attention to what the person was saying, what is the (worst or most important) thing that would happen for me if I did speak up?” A second option is to move to number 3.
Feel free to reach out by e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org .