The best way to test yourself as a real leader is through action learning for leadership development…simply dive in, get wet, learn, adjust, and go for it.
Using the action learning leadership guidelines below, push a button here and there, observe the results and adjust so that the results are better the next time. There is a rhythm to action learning experientially: act, observe, reflect, connect your lessons learned and act better again. As long as you stick to the action learning discipline, you will improve as a leader and your organizational culture will be the stronger.
- Have you hired well?
Your hands will be tied as a leader if you have not hired and retained the right talent. Make sure you have people aboard who share the corporate values, who buy into what the company does, who are capable and eager to learn.
- How clear are the goals…yours and those around you?
Does each and every employee understand what they are striving for and how their work objectives fit into the overall goal of the organization? The greater the goal clarity at every level, the more focused the company is on staying the course.
- Is everyone pulling in the same direction?
In other words, you need to be sure that corporate, team and department goals are aligned. Like a spotter plane over a fire, you are responsible for seeing that everyone’s efforts to control the burn are coordinated and in sync. If the wind is pushing in the easterly direction, make sure there are folks ahead of the fire on the east to create a break and not just following the burn from the west.
- How are you doing against the competition?
Just as you must see that your sales force maintains a healthy pipeline, you must gauge your position in the overall marketplace. Know how your competition is doing, what surprises they have in store, how they are viewed by your customers and those you have not yet reached, and how you can effectively differentiate your company and offering.
- Keep all employees accountable.
Performance should be measured at every level in the organization. When employees perform above expectations, they should be recognized. When they perform below expectations, some form of remediation is called for. Good leaders never ignore substandard performance. They know it can infect and drag down an entire organization.