How a leader can achieve personal development
You may have made your mark as a leader, but it's important you continue to focus on your personal development. Ensure you keep challenging yourself by broadening your skills, tackling greater tasks and attempting to attain new goals. This will lend itself to you improving both as a leader and a person - which will give you the best chance at onward progression.
Establish your goals and set target dates
To work towards goals, you must first identify what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. In essence, this is a career personal development plan. Make a record of what your goals are and this will provide you with a constant reminder.
You don't have to make sweeping improvements in one fell swoop. Set your sights on one or two areas at a time. By doing this you will be able to concentrate on specific aspects, which should enable you to achieve greater results and won't leave you feeling overwhelmed. Achieving goals should also bring with it rewards, which should act as an incentive.
It's important as well to set yourself target dates to keep yourself motivated. Divide these into short-term and long-term time frames, for example, one to four years or five to ten years. Having target dates will also be a good indicator of your own performance.
Overcome obstacles with confidence
The path to achieving your goals will not always be straightforward. Expect to meet obstacles along the way, when they arise, don't rush into hasty decisions. Evaluate the situation before putting what you believe to be the best plan of action into place to provide a solution. It may be that despite your best efforts you don't achieve your goals within the timescale you set. Be philosophical about this and have a 'Plan B' to fall back on in case this situation arises. This will ultimately help you succeed and earn you a reputation as a problem solver.
Assess your own strengths and weaknesses
To achieve personal development, it's vitally important you are fully aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your own strengths will make it easier to play to those when it comes to taking on tasks, which best suit your capabilities. At the same time don't settle for what you have achieved as good as it may be. Try and improve this facet of your make-up by taking it to an advanced level - perhaps by seeking to add higher qualifications.
It's perhaps even more important to acknowledge your weaknesses as these are the areas which have the scope for even greater improvement and so can substantially enhance your personal development. Work on these aspects until you feel more comfortable with them - a training course may be useful here. Bringing your weaknesses up to scratch will help make you a more rounded person, which should make it easier to achieve your goals.
It's important to know what skills you and your teams may need to develop. Our What Workers Want report is a detailed insight into employment market trends and the most in-demand skills.
Watch out for imposter syndrome
Particularly if this is your first leadership role, you may sometimes feel that you don’t deserve to be where you are. This is perfectly normal and is called ‘imposter syndrome’. If left unchecked it can impact your confidence and your efforts for any further career progression.
The cure is simple however, always maintain belief in your own talents and your ability to achieve. It can be easy to sometimes think some aims that you want to achieve are beyond your capabilities, whereas in reality the opposite is the case. Have self-confidence and back yourself by setting aside enough time to achieve your ambitions and inspire others to do the same. You have earned your position, and you’ll earn the next one too.
To discover more about the development opportunities that present themselves only at the senior level, download our What’s Next for Leaders guide.
About this author
Beginning life in 1968 with just a handful of employees, Hays how has over 7,800 recruiting specialists worldwide, including 1,800 in the UK. Our consultants are experts in their field, helping professionals advance their careers, and organisations find the right talent.