The big topic of conversation for many leaders I speak with is the next step in their pandemic journey. No one knows for sure how we will maneuver forward but key is taking some type of action. I can almost feel the earth moving and beckoning leaders to put one foot in front of the other and try something new. No matter the organization nor the environment, there are a slew of heavy duty questions being posed frequently:
Can you see the light at the end of this COVID tunnel?
Will we continue to work from home?
What skills will we need to grow to be able to survive?
Is it time to remodel my job and career?
This is not the first time in most of our career trajectories that we have been thrown off balance and it certainly will not be the last. How many of us have switched careers due to conditions beyond our control? I began as an English teacher which turned into a MBA banker eventually landing in Leadership training and coaching. Thinking of our professional paths in a macro way can help center us to know what each of us must do to propel forward. You got this! Let’s give it a try together.
Four innovative strategies to grow your leadership:
1. Step Back and Take a Breath
Truly the best first move before deciding on which road to take involves stepping away from a current situation. When leaders try to analyze their choices for a possibly new direction it can be frustrating without creating space to think. That distance can be as simple as taking a long walk through a beautiful place to going on a vacation to escape. I just spent a week in a restful and dreamy spot where I was able to clear my mind. It could be attending a virtual seminar where the topic excites you. Just carve out room and time to explore alternatives that may kick-start your leadership.
2. Reexamine Your Goals
Once leaders have the opportunity to think and dream, it can be helpful to perform a deep check-in with your goals. Goals should never be so fixed in our minds that we can’t undo or expand them. What I have found helpful is to pull out a written form of your goals while asking yourself these empowering questions:
- Do my goals reflect where I am in my career at this very moment?
- Which goals are still spot on and which ones need to be adjusted or dumped?
- During the pandemic what new goals do I need to add?
- Who should I be connecting with to gain a better understanding of any of the goals?
3. Build On Your Strengths and Fascinations
Each leader has a unique set of gifts and strengths. It is important for leaders to draw upon the talents that they can bring to their professional life. The old adage of playing to your strengths is one worth pursuing. To identify those gifts, think about what comes naturally to you as well as what colleagues are asking your advice for. If a leader excels in a particular area, teammates notice and will reach out to us for help. In addition to offering our expertise leaders need to follow their curiosity. Children are excellent in allowing themselves to explore what is interesting to them. Why shouldn’t adults embrace and delve deeper into what fascinates us? To be innovative we need to lead with our curiosity.
4. Create a Short and Long-Range Plan
To stay on target and measure how well we are moving, designing short and long- range plans are best. The reason both are necessary is that we may be a moving target after this pandemic due to environmental changes. So why get caught off guard when we can plan for different scenarios?
- Create short term goals for the next 6 months to 1 year that reflect immediate needs.
- Breakdown the short- term goals into manageable objectives and steps.
- Formulate long-term goals for the following 2-3 years to have a bigger picture of where you are headed. Make sure these goals fit into any team or organizational goals.
- Keep the plan close and check back continually to assure you are on target.
How are you planning to grow your leadership as the light at the end of the COVID tunnel begins to shine?