Leadership skills can help you build a successful career in just about every field. Learning how to be a leader, however, isn’t as straightforward as acquiring other skills. You’ll have to focus on many aspects of interacting with others – communication, problem-solving, being responsible, strategic thinking and long-term planning are all essential.
Acquiring leadership skills is all about choosing the right personal calibers to develop. Luckily, you can rely on various resources for the purpose.
There’s a simple explanation why mentoring works in every single field. Business school provides important skills but graduates lack the real, highly specific industry experience that experienced professionals have.
It’s always a good idea to gain knowledge from people who have been in the field for a long period of time and who have managed to establish their reputation.
Online programs also exist, enabling young professionals to connect with industry experts and learn from their experience. These are particularly beneficial for the people attempting to build a career in a highly specific field and the ones who simply don’t have an expert to learn from.
Apps like Officehours are created for that specific purpose. They enable one on one “virtual meetings” with approved advisors. The app features extensive profiles about the experience and the career of the advisors, making it easy for users to choose a mentor and make the most of the experience.
While an educational program doesn’t highlight all aspects of being a leader, it builds a solid foundation that young professionals can rely on until they acquire additional skills.
Educational programs come in all formats. There are opportunities for busy professionals who simply don’t have the time to go to a traditional college. Online courses and certification opportunities rank among the best because they allow for a lot of flexibility.
Industry-specific trainings are also available, some of them for free. Whether you’re interested in growing in the professional writing and essay creation or a highly technical discipline, you will discover an array of educational options.
Always look for accreditation and reviews before joining one learning opportunity or another. The cost of the course itself isn’t indicative of quality. Very often, inexpensive or free of charge educational programs offer much better resources than over-hyped courses that cost a lot.
Leadership skills can be acquired through podcasts.
Are you spending a lot of time commuting to work every single day? If so, listening to podcasts can give you an opportunity to make the best of the available time.
If you do a simple online search, you will come across dozens of inspirational podcasts that focus on one business field or another. TED Radio Hour is just one example. These podcasts focus on some of the most popular TED talk topics. Every theme is developed in a single episode, giving the listener an in-depth presentation of the most important aspects.
Many of the talks on this podcast are available free of charge and the range of topics is immense – from rethinking traditional education to planning for the future and responding adequately to crisis situations.
Networking Events and Groups
Finding a mentor is one way to sharpen your leadership skills, networking events provide another.
Very often, leaders and experts in different industries make use of opportunities to connect with other professionals and exchange experiences. Even if you don’t have the time to attend such events in person, you’ll find many digital events that professionals can attend virtually for the purpose of having a productive discussion. New technology has also made it possible for industry representatives from all parts of the world to get in touch with each other.
Do some research. There are some highly specialized groups that host invite-only meetings and that focus on in-depth explorations of various industries. Apart from being great for the development of leadership skills, such events are also a way to connect with people who may provide amazing opportunities in the future.
Websites and Other Online Resources
You don’t have to go very far in order to move forward with your career and your skill development efforts. In fact, you can get amazing results without even leaving your home.
Online resources are at your disposal 24/7. Websites like MindTools bring together various tools and articles on leadership. You can learn about different theories in the field (for example, the Dunham and Pierce’s Leadership Process Model), about emotional intelligence, different leadership styles, contingency planning and being a young leader.
This is just one example of a highly beneficial online resource, a hub that focuses on the topic and explores it from different angles. Anyone who is interested in a more specific aspect of being a successful leader will find additional online learning opportunities that focus on both the theory and the practice.
Effective leadership development is a process, a lengthy one on top of that. Few people are born and ready to start leading others. Most have learned through experience and their interactions with others.
Take some time on doing a bit of self-assessment. What is it that you’re best at? What is it that you’re still missing? How can you overcome the gap? Once you have a plan and an idea, it will be much easier to identify the tools and resources that will help you get there. Don’t rush into one opportunity or the other. Be strategic about it and you will soon see the benefits.