Blog Post 7-8-13

Ten Things To Be More Effective

Jasmine was a fast-tracker. After finishing school she had entered the agency’s internship program and within four years she had her first supervisory position. She took every possible chance to enroll in leadership training and seize developmental opportunities, and she asked many questions of her manager and her mentor. The quick progression of her career should have felt great, but for some reason, it didn’t. The more questions she asked and the more she tried to do as she was told, the more it seemed someone was always too busy to respond. One day she sought out the employee relation’s office, where she complained that she felt unsupported by senior leadership in her new position.
New leaders in today’s workplace are better educated than ever before. The challenge for organizations is to harness the strengths of that education while developing young supervisors on the practical side of leadership. New leaders must learn to do the hard work both inside and out; they must learn to ask tough questions, think reflectively and offer something of their own. Thus we might look at opportunities to correct the mistakes of new leaders both internally and externally.

Intrinsic opportunities

1. Take the time and do the work to form your own opinion about issues. Don’t just ask questions; bring your insights to the table. For what are you willing to advocate?
2. Explore and establish your own professional and personal core values
3. See beyond “black and white” judgments when evaluating situations; seek an understanding of complexity
4. Develop a discerning eye for people and their contributions – and let them know you appreciate them
5. Know the many facets of your own strengths and developmental opportunities. Know how to describe what you bring to the organization

Extrinsic opportunities
6. Check out your reasoning and thinking on key issues with experienced leaders
7. Test your values and priorities in team and group forums
8. Seek to understand the complexities seen by senior leaders and the context for their decisions
9. Build a merit-based network with key performers and influencers
10. Expect and clearly define success, both for yourself, your people, and your area of responsibility

After spending some time exploring these ideas with her mentor, Jasmine came to understand that she needed a critical shift in her thinking in order to adapt from the world of school to the world of real work. To truly engage in her new role she needed to offer something of her own, and not just be a “taker.” Only then would she embark on a path to leadership.