Build Personal Leadership Skills – Optimize Performance
Embracing Personal leadership
If you’ve ever run a marathon or triathlon then you know that 90 percent of running it comes from the physical training and 10 percent comes from your mental attitude. That 10 percent is key to going through the finish line or just making to the finish line.
Personal Leadership in business
Flip that around to business. With 85 percent of our success coming from how we show up, in other words, how we lead ourselves, then wouldn’t it make sense to develop employees in personal leadership? Southwest Airlines success comes from hiring people based on interpersonal skills (David Lapin, Fast Company 2012). A physician’s practice in New Jersey’s success (HBR, Bill Taylor) comes from hiring based on attitude.
A Personal Perspective
Most of my own personal leadership developed through my marathon experiences. Those of you who’ve done it will agree with me. The self-awareness, personal values, self-management, emotional awareness and understanding of your unique strengths for personal performance are essential to running a race. They are also essential to performance at work.
Who do you train?
The question then becomes who do we train? Executives, middle managers, supervisors, everyone? My answer – everyone. I worked with leaders who were great strategists and sorely lacked people skills. Personal leadership skills are essential for managers to bring their teams together and get results. The regular staff are your worker bees. They get things done and they often get overlooked. Personal leadership training for them can get them on the same page as their manager and makes them feel appreciated, motivated and engaged.
During my time as a purchasing professional in a large pharmaceutical company I would have taken every opportunity to build those skills. Like so many employees below manager level, I was not on the radar for training. Oh yes, I was granted training when I asked for it but I was never invited to attend training. Eventually, the company decided to bring soft skills training to my band level. A major shift happened to me personally. I finally felt valued as an employee and that my role in the organization was an important one. I was more motivated and engaged. That meant more to me than any gift I received through the formal recognition program. I felt respected.
Measuring Personal Leadership
At this point, you may be saying, “that’s nice but how can I measure results of having great personal leadership skills?” No you can’t put a number on how well team members are communicating with each other, you can measure if the project was completed on time and done right. You can measure customer retention because CSR’s are being great communicators and have confidence in what they do. You can measure sales by the numbers and know that it’s because your sales people know how to communicate with their current or prospective customers.
- They feel valued.
- They become more engaged.
- They stay motivated.
- They hold themselves accountable.
- You don’t know who has a great leader hiding inside.
- You get stronger teams
- You get less absenteeism
- You keep your best people
I see personal leadership as the key for companies to excel in this century.
If you’re not taking care of your people, you’re not taking care of your profits.
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