Looking Forward: Improving Your Leadership Skills

Practicing leadership skills is like the practice of yoga – it can always be a learning moment, and the more you do it, the stronger you and your endurance become. Taking the time to work on your own development is just as important as empowering your team to be the best they can be. Below are six ways you can continue to develop your leadership skills.

  • Identify your Leadership Style: While you will use different styles of leadership for different occasions or individuals, identifying your style of communication can help you refine specific skills that will be effective for your team or project. You might use your team or project’s goals to help identify what leadership styles will be most effective.
  • Find Resources about Leadership: Reflection and self-study on leadership may help you get a better understanding of how to develop your skills. Seek out books or podcasts, even video workshops, to continue to hone your attributes. Many can be found for low cost or even free online.
  • Participate in Leadership Training or Workshops: Find programs and/or courses that help teach leadership skills. In-person courses, in particular, often include practice sessions and role play. Find programs that include learning your leadership style, dealing with change or difficult situations, and coaching your employees.
  • Find Leadership Activities Outside of the Office: If you have trouble finding leadership opportunities on the job, you may be able to find some by taking the lead in organizing activities or work outings, or volunteering to lead a team within a nonprofit in your community.
  • Study Leadership Styles you Admire: When you see leaders you admire, take note of the specific qualities they have that make them a great leader. Focus on ways you can develop those skills and apply them in your workplace. If possible, ask a leader you respect, whether inside your organization or in your community, to mentor you on a weekly or monthly basis.

Setting goals toward becoming a better leader by developing skills and using them will empower you to reach those goals, as well as structure accountability to set out to do them. Contact Your Director of People or Leadership Training – there may be resources available to you that you are not aware of.

This tip provided by Dianne Durkin of Loyalty Factor. She can be reached at dmdurkin@loyaltyfactor.com. For more information about Loyalty Factor, please visit www.loyaltyfactor.com.

Virtual Water Cooler Talk

Like other organizations, our Contact Center temporarily deployed to 100% remote in March 2020.   We were already 40% remote so we had experience with both deployment and work management.  After a few months of operating effectively, our leadership team moved forward with a decision to make this a permanent arrangement.   We gave up our real estate and started our new mode of operations.    

One of the challenges with an all-virtual center, is the feeling of being disconnected.   Now don’t get me wrong, we are more connected from a business perspective.   We have more cross functional business meetings which allows us to collaborate.   But the opportunities for the personal engagement have lessened – no social crossing paths in the breakroom, on the elevator, in the parking lot, etc.   

So one of our managers came up with an awesome solution.   He schedules periodic meetings entitled “Virtual Water Cooler Talk.”   The entire management team is invited.   The only rule is – NO SHOP TALK.    It is an opportunity to chat, share, catchup, and laugh.   

It is important that we don’t forget about the importance of personal bonding in the midst of our sometimes hectic work environments.

Note: This tip provided by SWPP Member Darlene Green of Shaw Industries. She may be reached at Darlene.green@shawinc.com.