There is no way to get around it. Being relevant matters, and demonstrating strong personal leadership is a key factor which drives the perception of your relevance in the minds of others.
If you are an employee in the workforce, being relevant drives the level of your value in the eyes of your employer. Yes, it keeps you on the payroll versus you being escorted out the door with your box of belongings in hand. If you are a small business owner, being relevant drives the level of your value in the eyes of your customers. It keeps their dollars coming to your bank account versus your competition’s.
In order to remain relevant in your profession or industry, you must constantly improve the perceptions of your personal leadership ability. The following are a few tactics you can implement immediately to kicktstart your personal leadership growth in 2017:
1. Sharpen Your Intellectual Horsepower– You have unique professional expertise that others admire and value. This expertise was why you were hired or why customers patronize your business. Take advantage of what already differentiates you from your peers and invest in becoming an even more prominent thought leader in your space. Become more knowledgeable about the latest articles and research in your field. Reflect upon the past year and note 2-3 new learnings or observations you have seen that may be valuable to others. You may even want to consider attending a professional conference or take an expert-level course which interests you.
2. Dedicate Time For Ideation & Innovation– Become stale = become irrelevant. Strong personal leaders are known for bringing new ideas for improvements to life. Don’t get overwhelmed with this tactic. Start small by allocating 30 minutes each month to brainstorm new ideas which will somehow improve your company. Your ideas could be as small as a tweak to work processes in order to increase efficiencies. Or as big as a grand idea for a new product or service. Just make sure to carve out time to release the magic of your thoughts and expertise!
3. Increase Your Stakeholder Savvy- Remember the research and observations mentioned in #1 and the great ideas mentioned in #2? Put them into good use to help reinforce your reputation as a strong, dynamic leader. How? Set up a meeting or luncheon each month with 1-2 influential people at your company or in your industry. During the meeting, be sure to first catch up with them on a personal level. However, when the discussion moves to business, weave in a few facts, observations, or ideas that would be of interest to them. Have a perspective on how the information you share will impact their work priorities over the next 3-6 months and volunteer to share your perspectives with anyone else they recommend. These types of conversations are the seeds for growing deeper professional relationships and catapulting your reputation as a go-to thought leader.
4. Create Good Leadership Karma – At some point during 2016, someone did something that benefited you. They may have been a mentor or a listening ear. They may have spoken on your behalf or sent you a referral. They may have treated you to lunch, covered you on a day-off, or helped with a project.
Much has been written on the power of reciprocity and paying it forward. A true, authentic demonstration of personal leadership is the unsolicited assisting of others without expectation of something in return. I’m sure you can find solace in that the act will create good leadership karma and will come back to you someday threefold.
I hope this post is the start of my own good leadership karma for 2017! Much success and great health to you and yours!
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