Many of these people in our lives will have helpful suggestions for our improvement. Constructive criticism, especially when it is based on evidence, can give us an understanding of what we should look to improve, while recommendations for specific programs can help us find a path on which we might embark. These opportunities exist within our schools, universities, social activities, community organisations, and workplaces. They just need to be found.
We also must be conscious of maintaining a broad outlook on our leadership learning. Focusing on specific skills and techniques we want to learn and improve can be important in learning effectively. Nonetheless, it is essential that we understand that transforming our leadership occurs from the inside out. It starts with who we are and who we are becoming. It then flows into the work we do and the impact we have on the lives of others. The exercise of skills must be aligned with the values we hold and our overriding purpose as a leader.
Diversifying our approach to what we want to learn, where we want to learn it and how we want to learn it is a simple way to broaden our approach to our leadership program. When developing our leadership program through attending events, having conversations with people around us and researching, we should also be building a network of people who are likely play a role in the story of our journey as a leader. While many of these connections will be temporary, the ones that will endure will form the nucleus of those key individuals who will exercise a particular formative capacity in our leadership development. These will include our peers who are embarking on the journey with us, the advisors who we turn to when we hit roadblocks, and the role models who inspire us to keep going when we lose our way.
We can contemplate our Leadership Development Program by considering the following questions:
- Is my leadership development an important component in my educational planning and progress?
- Do I research and identify courses and programs offered at my school or university and by agencies or associations in planning for my personal leadership development?
- Do I seek advice from others in planning my personal leadership development program?
- Do I look for opportunities to broaden my understanding of leadership through a diverse range of subjects and disciplines?
- Do I build connections between the leadership courses and programs I undertake and my practical leadership experiences?