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  • Writer's pictureJackie Booth

Leadership secrets exposed; what you are never taught in the workplace

For those of you who have been reading my newsletter and blogs, you know I believe that everyone has potential to be a great leader, no matter where they are right now.

My mission is to support aspiring women leaders to step up and bring all of themselves into how they lead.

However, leadership isn’t something that you’re ever really taught and you might not even see yourself as a leader.

You might be overwhelmed by all your responsibilities and expectations and your own need and drive to get things perfect.

So how do you get there? What are the secrets to making leadership look easy?

In my experience, leadership isn’t something that can be learned on a course or seminar.

Although there can be a lot of useful content out there, it takes time to appreciate how to practically apply any learning. In addition, you have to understand what motivates and inspires you to step up and lead.

The key factor is actually appreciating that the best learning is achieved through day-to-day practical experience.

Every time you have to solve a problem, manage a difficult project, chair a challenging meeting, oversee your team’s performance, give feedback to your boss for example, you are developing your leadership skill set.

You’re handling real leadership situations and learning as you go along. Which is why it can be hard to recognise what you’ve learned and what you’ve accomplished.

It’s not a tick-box exercise and it’s only through regularly reviewing and reflecting on what you’ve achieved that you realise how far you’ve actually come.

How can you become an effective leader?

Effective leadership comes in the everyday things that you do, when you show up as the role-model that your team, customers and stakeholders are looking for.

It’s when you have assurance and confidence in your abilities that is not faked.

It’s when what you do and how you do it resonates with who you are.

I can say from years of experience that this practical approach is what will get you long-term results.

This is what will ensure that you are able to deliver successful projects, manage, support and nurture your teams and build effective relationships with your clients or stakeholders.

Last week, I was talking with a client who had been through a difficult situation at work where she felt she was the scapegoat for a particular failure which had actually been more of a collective disaster. Her boss was focusing on apportioning blame and not only was she starting to doubt herself and her abilities, she also had no one in her immediate team who she could ask for help.

She also admitted that she doubted whether she was in the right role. Ultimately, she let others people’s opinions of her performance influence her view of herself.

Once you get into a negative mindset, it’s a challenge to change your perspective and it can actually herald the start of a depressing downward spiral.

What can you do right now?

There are several things that you can put in place and I’m going to share the top three leadership secrets that I consider the most important, whether you’re an aspiring leader or you’ve been leading for a while.

1. The importance of setting workplace and career goals

I know I’ve said this before but you have to know where you’re going, at least the general direction, but the more specific you can be the better. You might take a different route to get there than you’d expect (in fact that’s more than likely) but at least you’ll be headed in the direction you want.

All successful leaders continuously set their goals and intentions, allocate a timeframe and take action regularly, confident that they know where they’re going.

Take time to sit down and work out your career goals, the success you want to achieve and your overall vision, so that when there are bumps in the road, you naturally view them as part of the bigger picture rather than an insurmountable roadblock.

2. Don’t go it alone

We’ve all been there; struggled on with something because you should know what you’re doing and everyone is waiting on you to deliver without any problems.

Because asking for help will mean that you’re weak and needy, maybe even a failure.

If this sounds like something you often think, then I urge you to stop and take note of the times when someone asks you for help. I bet you’re only too happy to help where you can. In fact, more than likely you’re flattered and feel glad that someone recognises your worth.

So when it comes to you and your leadership, don’t forget to ask others. It might only be something small you can easily delegate, or it might be something more substantial that needs a bit more thought and negotiation.

Whatever it is, remember that no successful leader has ever done it completely on their own and you don’t have to either.

If it feels like a bit of a challenge and internally you’re cringing, then start small. Ask someone to make you a coffee or pick up your lunch while they’re out.

Get into the habit of asking and see how it feels. It’s more liberating that you think.

3. Build relationships with people

This is one of things I bang on about all the time; people are everything!

Not only will you be more successful with others helping, but building meaningful and trustworthy relationships will enhance your success tenfold.

Every project you work on, every organisational partnership you are part of, every team you lead will contain other people, and your success will depend on how well you build and maintain relationships with those people.

This is especially when working with external stakeholders who aren’t accountable to you and over whom you have no authority. Sometimes you only have their goodwill so it’s imperative that you win over their hearts and minds.

Take time to get to know them, the challenges they have, the things they’re interested in, any points of commonality where you can create and build a meaningful connection.

Overtime, the relationship will grow and support you to achieve your project objectives in a friendly and inclusive environment. And you never know, you may find a long-term friend as well as trusted colleague.

This could be you

You could be taking the leadership steps in your career that you want to take right now.

If these examples are resonating with you and you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself then I encourage you to make that commitment and find the right support for you.

I’d recommend working with a coach; with me or with someone else.

What matters is that you start on the journey of understanding and developing your own leadership style, enhancing your strengths and trusting that you have everything you need to transforms your career.

If you’re interested in getting some help right now to support you on your leadership journey then book a free 30 minute clarity call and together we can start to work out:

✔️ Your vision, goals and what you want next for your career

✔️ Your strengths, skills and key values, and how to use them effectively

✔️ What might be undermining your confidence and key steps to build it

✔️ How to motivate yourself to take action and make a commitment for yourself and your future

There's no time like the present to get started on where you want to go.

Hope to hear from you soon

Best Wishes

Jackie x

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