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Ask these 2 simple questions to grow as a leader

February 14, 2019
Borderless Leadership

Many times when I begin a coaching engagement, there can be a considerable amount of debate because in the client’s eyes, he or she has achieved a goal–when in fact the organization’s leadership thinks there is some coaching needed in leadership areas.

In my experience, there can many other factors to consider when moving into a more senior role in your company. Here are two questions to ask yourself that will help you along the way to grow as a leader.

1. Why is it good for the company?
The frustration of moving into a senior leadership position can be intense because you feel that you have met all of the expectations and surpassed them as well. But there is an important question to answer about your work–“Why is it good for the company?” You make it far more likely that your contributions will be noticed if you start talking about them in a way that highlights their value to the company. At the end of the day, there is a business to run and your work and leadership must track to the company goals.

This is the specific lens through which you need to focus all of the conversations about your work. An example of how a conversation might look with your manager is: “I have been working on bringing in the analytics group to our new product discussions. By spearheading this initiative, I am helping to ground our discussions in real-time data that will drive revenue by 10 percent.” This conversation demonstrates peer management and driving ease into the process of the program with data while tying your work to revenue.

2. What else do I have to learn?
When some leaders come to work with me, they believe they have learned everything along the way leveraging their work experience, training programs, and reading. While it may be the case that you have earned success through knowledge, experience, and hard work, there is still more you can do. I have found that in every instance, there is at least one new educational opportunity. From my executive coaching experience, it is the small tweaks and details that provide the most impact. Some examples of small, impactful tweaks include putting time in your calendar to provide informal feedback on a regular basis and thoughtfully planning out your delegation strategy for the team.

For example, one leader I worked with didn’t believe that he had much more to learn to get promoted. He was moving consistently toward his promotion, but in fact, when we dissected his 360 details, he saw a couple of key areas that he needed to focus on to move ahead. One area he committed to focusing on was how to build coalitions with his peers instead of keeping them out of the discussions. As a result, with a lot of hard work and some bumps along the way, he was promoted because he realized he still had knowledge gaps. This helped him grow into a more senior leadership position.

There can be many frustrations when growing into a more senior leadership role, but focusing on learning and answering the simple question can help you with your career goals.

By Anne Sugar


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