What advice would you give to fellow young professionals looking to strengthen leadership development skills?
As professionals, we seek to develop skills to perform more effectively and efficiently, ultimately establishing ourselves as leaders within our space. I’ve found that strengthening leadership development skills has much to do with awareness, intentional engagement, accountability, and action. This means: understanding where opportunities already exist and using them, holding ourselves accountable as active participants and facilitators of our growth and development experience, and putting those skills to practice.
“Checking in” with yourself regularly can be a great way to stay active in your leadership development. Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for yourself, and give yourself credit for your strengths and identify the skills that would benefit from focused attention. If possible, align those skills with desired outcomes. Do you want to develop your delegation skills because you have your eye on a management position? Or maybe you want to make improvements with organization and time management to be able to take on more responsibilities. Identifying and aligning outcomes can help keep you motivated.
Always make the most of your organization’s willingness to develop your skills. Ask your colleagues, search your company’s website and keep an eye out for leadership development experiences your organization might offer. For example, Mercy Health System established a yearlong leadership development program for mid-level colleagues available through nomination. They also offer professional coaching for a more individualized development experience. Your organization may also offer education, training, seminars, or formalized mentorship programs. Stay intentional, think about what experience might work best for you, and pursue that. Utilize formal authority figures at work. Your boss can be a great resource for identifying leadership skills necessary to get to the next level. Your boss may be willing to provide development opportunities through additional project work, responsibilities, or experiences that will strengthen your skills.
A great and accessible way to strengthen leadership development skills is through self-study. Read books, articles, and blogs and listen to podcasts; there are many ways to take in content, some of which are right at our fingertips.
Joining professional organizations, interest groups, service organizations, and community organizations is my favorite way to actively engage in leadership development. Groups or organizations provide opportunities to attend talks, presentations, panel discussions, or workshops, as well as chances to not only participate but contribute. Becoming an active member of the Young Professionals Council as well as the Junior League of Philadelphia has played a primary role in strengthening my relationship-building and collaboration skills.
Lastly, as cliché as it may seem, establish mentors inside and outside your organization and industry that you trust. Those relationships may provide different perspectives on leadership and leadership development and offer access to opportunities you otherwise would not have, and it never hurts to learn from someone else’s experiences.
Siah has been named one of the honorees for the first annual YPC Spotlight Awards, honoring Young Professionals in the region who have demonstrated remarkable leadership, exceptional volunteerism, a drive for career advancement, and outstanding relationship-building skills.
YPC Spotlight Awards
Thursday, June 6, 2019
6:00 – 8:00 PM
The Arts Ballroom