Leadership and Professional Development
Be in the know!
Be in the know!
At the heart of leadership and professional development is the idea of building a core of knowledge that becomes an essential part of your expertise.
Most of us are familiar with the kind of knowledge to be gained from management and leadership courses, or MBA programs. However, alongside this type of knowledge there is other wisdom to found and used, from a range of sources. Though perhaps more applied and tacit in nature, broad-based knowledge is equally important for leaders and managers.
In this mini-series on management skills we consider this idea from three crucial management perspectives:
Focusing – the ability to direct attention and effort onto what matters. This is the subject of our article Developing Management Skills: Sharpen Your Focus
Doing – the ability to get things done. This is the topic of our article Effective Management Skills: Making it Happen
Knowing – this article explores the ability to build your explicit and tacit knowledge, in order to inform how and why you manage.
Self-awareness is an undervalued but essential skill for a manager. Think about how you prefer to work, your style, what you value, how your leadership and management style affects others. How do you perform? How do you work well – do you work better alone or in a team? How do you learn?
There is no substitute for being a student of the business you are in. Find out all that you can about the sector you work in, your competitors, trends in the industry. Know how your organization performs. What is unique about it? How does it make a profit or a surplus.
What are the critical areas of knowledge in your discipline that you need to know? How do you keep up to date? Management and leadership knowledge is dynamic, addressing constantly changing priorities and a complex business context. Make sure your leadership and professional development really does provide you with the expertise to be “in the know”.
Be in close contact with customers, find out as much as you can about why they deal with your organization. What do they really want? Why do they choose to work with you?
Build effective relationships, with those who work for you, with your boss, your peers, and a wider network in the organization. Building a strong, wide network is an effective way of creating support and influence as you progress in an organization.
In this article on leadership and professional development we’ve drawn on knowledge from a wide sphere of practice and experience.
Explicit knowledge of business, leadership and management, of the kind to be gained from an MBA program or other management course, is only a part of what’s needed.
It’s often the combination of this explicit learning with tacit knowledge, gathered from a wide range of sources, that gives leaders and professionals the real depth of understanding upon which to base their decisions.
If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, take a look at one of our leadership e-guides. Leading Insights is packed with more leadership stories, and some leading insights into how they can be used! Insights such as:
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