I recently asked this question of a very successful leader, “when did you know you wanted to be a leader”? Her response was, without hesitation, “when I was five. My friends told me I was bossy – I knew what we were going to do and just started organizing the other kids to get it done – that was an aha moment for me”. Most leaders do not think about this but all leaders can point to a moment in their career when they made the decision.
This Leader went on to talk about her progressive advancements in leading teams and interacting with customers. She then told me something remarkable, she said she had recently begun to conduct experiments on her leadership style. Even though she had been a leader for years, she wanted to figure out what worked best with people and for herself, with a lens of continuous improvement.
Adopt the Mindset of a Scientist
I rather like this idea of adopting the mindset of a scientist and looking objectively at a situation. Taking account of at how you think and, behave, reviewing the actions you take and the results it generates. By doing these experiments, and being cognizant of the impact, defines you as a leader. The journey to being a great leader is long, and requires this type of learning approach. To embrace this approach, our recommendation is that you define your Leadership Learning Goal. A goal you set for yourself that allows you to experiment and continually evolve or refine your approach to being a leader.
I believe that every leader needs to have a learning goal and must, revisit it frequently and get feedback in order to grow as a leader. There will be many “surprises” along the way, embrace those surprises as learning moments not failures – this will keep it fresh and interesting. All experiments have these learning moments and it truly is the best way to grow as a leader.
Our mission is to have you consider leadership as an experiment that begins with you choosing that you want to lead. Once you have decided this, you need to consider what type of leader you want to be, then set your Leadership Learning Goal and embrace the experiment!