After graduation in August I was armed with a binder full of new ideas, concepts, practices and formulas on how to be an effective leader. I found it easy to be intentional during the program which was fueled by my own enthusiasm and frequent and very useful check-ins from my coaches. New actions and practices became part of my routine and clearly validated what we had learned during our sessions together. I was feeling good and well on my way to being a more effective leader! Transformed and my mission accomplished!!
So, four months later how am I doing? Honestly – on a scale of 1-10, I would say a 4, maybe 5. Old habits do die hard. The immediate preempts the important too many times. New actions and practices seem to be easily forgotten. However, I do take comfort in the old expression that “Rome was not built in a day”. For me, this leadership journey is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. I continue to work at being a better leader and often avail of the many tools and references I now have easy access to. I often find myself in an almost “hybrid” state, applying old and new practices and wonder how this must seem a little chaotic and confusing to those I am leading.
The key to my success during this transformation is my behavior. After all, the first person I need to lead is myself. I must change my behavior in order to be able to develop new disciplines. New habits that influence and foster new practices until they become instinctive. If I can develop these practices to where they happen naturally then I believe my passion and energy will be complimentary and not appear formulaic. I want to model the behaviors of good leadership. It is my actions that will define my leadership. It is not about knowing what to do (as in the formula in the title) but how to do it.
So, as I continue on my leadership journey I do so with a renewed focus on my behavior. I am determined to change in my efforts to truly become a better leader. If I do not then I may typify what the leadership proverb says, if you think you’re leading and no one is following you, then you’re only taking a walk.
Denis D. Walsh PMP