/training/articles/amp-up-your-leadership.aspx
Request a Catalog.
Share

Amp-Up Your Leadership: Look to Your Role Models

By: Stefanie Smith
Last updated 8/5/2010

What does it mean to “amp-up” your leadership effectiveness?  When you amplify a signal, it becomes stronger and gains impact, providing more energy, clearer sound, and a brighter light.  The “Amp-Up Your Leadership” series is designed to help any leader boost his or her effectiveness up to a higher level, to amplify its power for enhanced individual and team performance. 

As a leader, your actions directly affect outcomes for yourself, your team, and the organization as a whole.  If you want to be optimally effective, you must identify, embrace, and execute the strategies that will achieve—and hopefully exceed—expectations at every level.  That’s amping up your leadership!

Part I, offered here, starts with energizing you.  Part II will present a new set of leadership principles that will help you amplify your power and impact.  Part III will outline actions and practices that will motivate your team, charging them up to achieve big wins in the year ahead.

The following leadership self-assessment asks you to think about who inspires and motivates you and why.  It is an opportunity to listen to your own voice and to reflect on the type of leader you aspire to be—whether in your current role or as part of your next career move.  Once you determine which leaders you most admire, you can adopt strategies that will help you become more like your role models.  Then you’ll become someone else’s inspiration.

The leadership assessment will allow you to:

  • Evaluate your own leadership experience with no one watching.
    This is private assessment to help you acknowledge your talents and confront your challenges.
  • Establish standards and practices to succeed as a leader
    Maybe you can rattle off the names of twenty great leaders but designating a few as role models and keeping them present in your mind will inspire and guide you daily.
  • Launch a game plan that advances you and your team. 
    Most of us would like to become the best leaders we can be but have we actually considered, let alone acted on, the first steps to make it happen?  If you were training someone else, you’d expect progress before perfection.  Approach your leadership development the same way.

Allocate 60 minutes to respond to the questions below.  When you’re done, consider whether it would be helpful to seek input from friends, colleagues, or a mentor. 

1. Who are three leaders you see as role models?  List their traits or achievements that you admire.
a. 
b. 
c. 

2. What do you have in common with these leaders? 
What was an example of great leadership on your part?  When did you solve a problem or encourage people to work better together?  Did you coordinate a global product launch?  Did you turn around a dysfunctional customer service department?  Did you coach your daughter’s soccer team to demonstrate better teamwork or skill? 
a. 
b. 
c. 

3. How can you evolve to become more like them?
Do you tend to micromanage, often losing your best and brightest people?  Do you acknowledge key team members at high profile events?  Do the people who work with you feel you care about their victories?  Do you listen often and well?
a. 
b. 
c. 

4. How can you keep your admired leaders present in your mind?  How can you use their examples to inspire yourself and your team? 
What are two ways you might do so tastefully or with sophisticated humor?  Would you feel comfortable putting a picture or a symbol of your admired leader in your office?  Can you incorporate a quote into your next memo or Power Point deck? 
a. 
b. 
c. 

5. What meaningful measures can you put in place to give your team quantifiable guidelines for success?
a. 
b. 
c. 

6. How can you motivate or recognize people more often than annual performance reviews?  Beyond salary, what other incentives and rewards can you offer?
a. 
b. 
c. 

7. Are you ready to seek feedback about your leadership? 
The best way to learn about your leadership potential is to ask for feedback.  One caveat:  only ask for feedback if you are prepared to hear the responses.  If you truly are ready, you have much to gain:  positive reinforcement, a great recommendation or both.  Seek out three trusted and respected colleagues, record their responses and look for any consistent patterns in their comments.

Leadership Feedback:
a. What are my unique qualities as a leader?

b. What are my personal or professional challenges as a leader? 

c. What is one step I can take to yield more successful leadership results for myself and my team?

8. What actions can you take to fulfill or move towards your leadership ideals within the upcoming three to six months? 
Can you diversify your leadership techniques or build new skills?  Do your personal and professional images reflect the qualities you seek to project?  Could you benefit from some coaching or mentoring? 

New Actions                                                                                      How and When?
a. 
b. 
c. 
 
The approach outlined here works both up and down the management chain:

—As part of your own professional development and advancement, you can discuss these questions with your boss, other superiors, and mentors.

—As a leader, you can distribute this worksheet or a modified version to managers or supervisors on your staff to convey to them that you want to help them reach their potential.

After all, part of being a great leader is inspiring others to model themselves on your best traits today, even as you strive to enhance your own leadership qualities for tomorrow.  Remember:  Some people are born to lead.  All people are born to learn.  You can learn to lead.

© 2010 Stefanie Smith Stratex Corporation.  All rights reserved.

About the Author(s)

Stefanie Smith Stefanie Smith leads Stratex, an executive consulting and coaching firm based in New York City.  She works with business and government leaders to plan and execute strategic projects and provides private coaching programs and customized workshops to boost executive and team performance. For more information, visit www.stratexcoaching.com or www.stratexconsulting.com