Developing your own skills as a leader

As a leader, you often don't benefit from the same level as support as your team do. For that reason, you need to be a little more self-sufficient about developing your own skills. Here are some ideas to help you do that...

There are 2 topics in this article:

  1. Asking for feedback
  2. Proactively developing new skills

How to ask for feedback
Most people would agree, that when it’s delivered well and fairly, feedback is incredibly helpful. Our definition of feedback at Navanter is:

Shining a light on something, positive or negative, that the other person isn’t aware of, and the impact their actions is having on their work.

If you take this definition, then you should always want feedback, because it stops you doing things which make you look bad, and it gets you the appreciation and recognition you deserve when you do something well.

Feedback is also just one person’s view on something, and not necessarily a balanced assessment of your performance.

To ask for feedback (and use it), you should do some initial preparation, then have the feedback conversation.

Initial preparation:

  • Review your objectives
    • Consider your performance against those objectives
    • Prepare questions to get another person’s point of view
  • The feedback conversation
    • Ask your questions
    • Accept the feedback (even if you disagree)
    • Assess the feedback
    • Act on what you’ve learnt (if appropriate)

How to acquire new skills
As well as receiving feedback from the people you work with, you will probably recognise as you go through your career that there are certain new skills you need as you develop.

Acquiring new skills doesn’t necessarily come from reading a book or attending a training course. There are other ways which can be more effective, depending on the type of skill.

Here’s Navanter’s process for successfully acquiring a new skill when you need it:

  1. Define clearly the skill you need to acquire
  2. Set personal expectations
  3. Learn the theory… briefly
  4. Get the expert view
  5. Practise the skill
  6. Analyse your results and tweak your plan

If you follow this process, you can gradually add to your skill set on the job as the need arises, and ensure you continue to grow in your career.


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