What single skill accelerates 2018 into an extraordinary year for your life and career? Today, I share several skills almost every leader I know uses to accelerate their careers. All these skills are easy, but it’s even easier not to keep improving them. Failure to work on them could cost you significant opportunities for growth and success.
I’ve discovered that great leaders excel at these key leadership skills. I’ve interviewed and partnered with over 10,000 leaders in my consulting career. Some started their businesses in garages and dorm rooms. Many are responsible for leading outstanding organizations today.
Many I got to know when they were fired or released their jobs. They were referred to me by well-meaning clients who wanted to help them get back on their feet. Almost all had allowed certain critical leadership skills to atrophy. And this can happen to anyone. For many successful people, it already has at least once! This failure accelerates their success.
Many other entrepreneurs on their way up. They had developed these critical skills in both their personal and professional lives. No matter when or where you meet them, they are using these skills to differentiate themselves from their peers. They use them both in their personal and professional lives. The good news is these skills can be learned and developed by anyone.
The first skill that accelerates your career is learning how to communicate and share your ideas and passions with others. None of these extraordinary leaders can’t communicate their ideas. They develop the ability to tell stories, share facts and figures, and get others emotionally invested in their ideas.
Can your vison and the way you share it move people? What do you feel passionate about? As importantly, how do you share it, so others want to work in your organization and on your causes? What excites them about what your working on?
The second skill that accelerates your career is serving others’ wants and dreams. Want to be a great connector? Learn how to give value first. People don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want. If you make a personal connection, it can transform your relationships.
This doesn’t always mean money, but it does mean you must be invested in the other person’s success. To accelerate your life, you must learn how to create value in every interaction.
Many of the most successful leaders I know are introverts. They are gifted listeners. They navigate out of curiosity and excel at active listening and being great sounding boards. Good ideas come to them because other people feel heard at a deeper level. Today, more than ever, accelerate your life by becoming a better listener. Stand out from all the noise, make silence your ally.
The third skill that accelerates your career is increasing your emotional intelligence. We are working in exhilarating times. Many people are overwhelmed by the amount of information they process on a regular basis. Successful leaders provide the space required to allow other people to process what is going on. They help people bring their best selves to the conversation.
Successful leaders must be able to read and interpret not only what is being said, but how it is being interpreted. Emotionally intelligent leaders are constantly monitoring what is happening around them. They are adjusting in real time. As one of my clients said about his boss, “She brings calm to stormy oceans.” How are you seen? What do your fellow leaders say about you?
The fourth skill that accelerates your career is constantly learning new things. Look at any truly extraordinary leader and you find they are lifetime learners. Every great leader I know has at least one great book on their nightstand and another on deck. Sometimes several. They carve out time for their reading.
Today there are so many ways of learning. When I coach clients, one of the first things I learn about them is how they like to learn. Many of my older clients are voracious readers. If I want to discuss something new with them, I send them a book that helps us build a foundation for our discussion.
For my younger GenX and Millennial high potential clients, I might use podcasts or YouTube videos to start and accelerate their learning curves. They have very active lives, but always have time for another interesting podcast to listen to while they work out or walk the dog.
Several clients have asked me to develop a series of podcasts designed to help these future executives, supplemented with a reading list if they need additional information. I’m hoping to share these once I get comfortable creating these multimedia presentations.
Just in case you’re wondering what the number two thing I do to accelerate my client’s success, I understand how they like to be communicated with. I ask my clients how I get in touch so that If something needs to happen, it will. Then I get the critical information to make that happen. Several times, it’s allowed my client meet a goal they thought would be impossible to achieve.
The final skills that accelerates your career is seeing the future in advance. They can anticipate what is going to happen next. Wayne Gretzky used to say skate to where the puck will be, not where it is. I think he did us entrepreneurs a disservice.
I believe what made him great was his ability to see where he was going and what was going to happen as he moved to the puck and, ultimately, shot the goal. He anticipated others’ moves in advance and executed strategies to provide him an advantage on the ice. Do you know how to anticipate the future?
Now the good news. All these skills can be developed in anyone willing to invest the time.
Next week, I share why embracing anticipatory strategies accelerates your development into a successful senior executive.
See you next week!