15 Edifying Experiences That Help Leaders Learn To Lead

The best leaders develop their skills on the field and learn from their experience.

They acknowledge that they do not know everything, that their learning process is singular but they are curious and are open to learn.

It is common knowledge that experience is the best teacher. Your experiences will help you develop a leadership style, a communication style, core values, purpose, character and emotional discipline.

Wondering how and which experiences can teach you how to lead?

15 Edifying Experiences That Help Leaders Learn To Lead

25 Edifying Experiences That Help Leaders Learn To Lead

Through your experiences, if you take time out to extract the lessons from your experiences, you will become a wiser and successful leader.

#1. When You Fail

At some point in your career, you will fail as a leader or as a person. You will fail to meet deadlines, to perform or to succeed.

However, every leader knows that you cannot let failure define you and that you must go on.

Indeed, failure is most often seen in a negative light but shows you what you are really made of.

Failure are inevitable, are a factor for change, redirects your career, helps you change procedures and your character.

Experiencing failure teaches you to:

  • Be more self-aware.
  • Identify the cues of failure.
  • Don’t punish yourself for failures and forgive yourself.
  • Measure the consequences of the mistakes and take responsibility for the failure.
  • Encourage constructive criticism as much as feedback is given.
  • Make immediate analysis and changes to fix the mistakes.
  • Be smart and learn from the mistakes made.
  • Be wise and learn from the mistakes of others.
  • Create an environment that is safe to make mistakes and to recover from them.
Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward. - John C. Maxwell Click To Tweet

#2. When You Get Familiar With Positivity & Success

Positive experiences are highly memorable and can change your life forever.

Positive attitudes can become difficult to maintain in challenging situations in the workplace. But once acquired, it is a habit that can help you overcome bad situations.

Indeed, positivity ensures progress, diffuses situations, alleviates stress, reduces fear, increases endurance, increase self-esteem, attracts positive results and better opportunities.

There are many ways to bring positivity into the workplace and into your mind. When you get familiar with positivity and success, you learn to:

#3. When You Promote Forgiveness

Forgiveness is often seen as weakness in the workplace. However, it is an efficient tool to avoid toxic conflicts, boost productivity, motivation and well-being.

Truthfully, in the workplace, people are sensitive about their work, feelings get hurt easily and emotions get high. It becomes essential to:

  • Forgive yourself when you have wronged someone or yourself.
  • Forgive others for their wrongdoings as well.

Becoming a forgiving person will teach you to:

  • Be compassionate and to let things go.
  • Not define yourself by your mistakes.
  • Not focus on the past and to be present.
  • Do your best next time.

#4. When You Find A Role Model

A role model can be a family member, a friend, a coworker, or another leader.

Role models provide sound advice, ongoing feedback, emotional support, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, higher self-esteem, better focus, stronger confidence.

Emulating their thoughts and behavior can improve your mind and teach you how to lead.

Keep in mind that you can learn from a bad leader as much as a good leader.

#5. When You Enjoy Solitude

Solitude and leadership often go hand in hand.

That is because, though leaders have family, friends, mentors and large network, they are the ones making the ultimate decision for their organization and not everyone will agree with their decisions.

However, solitude can give you time to think, to understand who you are and how you want to lead.

Leadership is also having the power to stand alone.

Leadership is also having the power to stand alone. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#6. When You Find Your Purpose or Renew Your Vision

You need to know why you work and your team needs to know why they work for you.

It is the vision that leads you and propels you forward, that wakes you up in the morning, that drives your performance, that is communicated to your employees, that gives meaning to your actions and decisions, and that leans on your belief systems.

Leaders with a vision are ambitious and satisfied with their lives, become hopeful and optimistic about the future, invite change, and select their employees according to their strengths and not their weaknesses.

They are also daring and don’t fear failure, are emotionally invested in their goals, flexible, persistent, resistant to social pressure and are convinced of their future success.

With purpose, leaders can easily overcome adversity. - Vanessa Sylvester Click To Tweet

#7. When You Have To Chose Being Like Vs. Being Respected

I am sure that at some point, you have realized that you get more things done when your coworkers like you.

However, in these situations, you can quickly become a people pleaser and lose the respect of your coworkers.

There comes a time when you have to decide whether you want to be liked or to be respected.

#8. When You Experience Different Cultures

You have experienced different cultures and are now culturally sensitive.

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is not the same. It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

Cultural sensitivity means viewing everyone as a unique individual. It promotes unity and has become a skill that is most useful in the world of today.

You are now capable of adapting your leadership and communication style to every single member of your team.

You are also capable of shifting the focus from yourself to your team.

#9. When You Thought You Knew It All 

Not because you are the leader, that you have all the solutions or are always right.

In fact, being a leader is being placed in a position of service and humility.

To be a humble leader:

  • Be confident about your own capabilities.
  • Take the time to think and to come up with a solution.
  • Understand that being a leader is not about being right.
  • Give people the time to think for themselves and to make their own mistakes.
  • Acknowledge that someone on your team may have better ideas than you do.
  • Learn to ask for help and to detect if someone needs help.
  • Learn to ponder your responses.

#10. When You Have Foot In The Mouth Syndrome

Sometimes, we say whatever comes to our mind.

Other times, we blurt out things that we don’t mean but we haven’t measured the real impact of our words.

In these moments, we understand that we should be quiet, that we should learn to speak less and listen more.

#11. When You Get Caught Up In Office Politics

Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, calculated and manipulative.

Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.

Other times, properly navigating office politics can give you access to leadership opportunities and promotion.

Once you have experienced office politics, you become aware of the power play, of how you speak and listen to people.

You start making sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.

#12. When You Have To Deal With Toxic Coworkers

We all have been exposed during a period of time to annoying, hateful, toxic coworkers who can drive us crazy.

Whether it’s confronting a team member about their behavior or their performance, toxic coworkers can take a toll on you.

However, it can also help you grow and become a better leader.

#13. When You Have Identified Your Core Leadership Values

Core values are principles that build your character and that define who you are deep down.

In life and in the workplace, your core values will definitely be put to the test.

For example, some people will not hesitate to lie on you or to sabotage your work to advance their career.

Consolidating your core leadership values requires hard work, determination, daily practice and self-discipline.

#14. When You Welcome Change

If you have experienced drastic change in the workplace, you know that is better not to resist it.

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Furthermore, it has the ability to stimulate interest in your job. It also creates an opportunity for promotion and to develop new skills.

Welcoming change teaches you to:

  • Be a catalyst for change and to champion innovation.
  • Regularly get outside of your comfort zone.
  • Handle feedback, setbacks and opportunities.

#15. When You Assist Training Programs

You have been to different seminars and courses and realized that you have acquired so much skills and tools in such short time.

You have also met like-minded people who understand you vision.

Last Words Of Advice!

There are various ways that a leader can learn new skills and can learn how to lead.

Every experience is an opportunity to test your skills and to learn some new ones.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

Leaders are often faced with recurring issues in their personal and in their professional lives.

On a daily basis, they fight to retain talent, to keep their businesses alive, to keep up with the market, to increase their return on investment, to deal with clients, to evolve and to encourage growth.

Problems arise when there is a discrepancy between reality and expectations, when leaders are unable to successfully reach their goals.

Their ability to anticipate and to solve problems will determine their success and will increase their chances for promotion.

Wondering how to acquire problem-solving skills?

Acquiring Impressive Problem-Solving Skills In 6 Steps

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is a cognitive skill that is useful in challenging, problematic and uncertain situations that require resolution.

Problem-solving is uncomfortable, takes time, requires practice and need constant monitoring. This intuitive skill is also sharpened by mistakes and failures.

Furthermore, problems encourage growth and change in us. That is why problem-solving requires facing inner demons.

It also helps us acquire innovative skills, people skills, communication skills, data gathering, conflict management and analytical skills.

How to actually solve problems?

Problem-solving gives leaders the opportunity to deal with change, to handle conflict, to delegate, to humbly ask for help.

Leaders who are unable to effectively solve problems lack knowledge in their respective fields, don’t establish practical methods, don’t commit to one solution, fail to implement their vision or to understand the problem all together.

STEP #1 Work on your character

You cannot control most of the situations that you will face in life. However, you can control how you react to them. It is therefore necessary to work on your character and to:

  1. Know yourself, trust your intuition and understand that your ideas are valuable.
  2. Be mindful that problems arise every day and that you cannot solve everything all at once.
  3. Write down all the rules and core values that guide you so you can remember them in time of need.
  4. Be open-minded, explore other fields than your own and to frequent people from other industries.
  5. Educate yourself on your business. Read books and articles on your field.
  6. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Challenge your assumptions before you restrict your opportunities
  7. Be patient but take action before it’s too late and before the opportunity expires.
  8. Pay attention to other people’s opinion but don’t worry too much about the naysayers.
  9. Admit if you have made a mistake. Great leaders are able to face issues without shifting blame and shifting values.
  10. Embrace change and avoid criticizing new ideas.
  11. Welcome failure. Don’t beat yourself up or don’t blame yourself for failure. Most successes or most innovations have broken through from failures.

STEP #2 Defining & Understanding the problem

Problems are synonymous with difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, obstacle or setback. Problems trigger fight or flight response when handling a problematic situations.

There is no need to immediately appear decisive or to impress people. You must first define and understand the problem:

  1. Get the information about the problem.
  2. Identify the complexity, the symptoms, effects and root causes of the problem.
  3. Take time to reflect on your situation and to observe.
  4. Talk to the people implicated in the situation.
  5. Look for patterns and for trends.
  6. Find analogies to your situation that can help spark ideas.
  7. Reverse the problem: find the opposite problem or envision a worse problem.

STEP #3 Solutioning

Anticipating problems is the best option. But, the key is to staying focused or finding a solution. You must be able to study all the possible solutions of the problem:

  1. Explore all ideas even if you think that they won’t work.
  2. Suggest solutions that would make the problem worse.
  3. Think about your past experiences when you have been put in sticky situations. It can be a conflict with your coworkers, It can be a discussion with your clients or situations with your family.
  4. Look at what is being done by experts and evaluate the opposite solution.
  5. Ask for help from people around you. You can use brainstorming, mind mapping or road mapping techniques.
  6. Remove yourself from the situation to clear your mind and gain a different perspective.
  7. Break down the situation into simpler components.
  8. Write down pros and cons of the solutions.
  9. Clarify the criteria that your solution must meet.
  10. Test the feasibility of the solution.
  11. Organize your thoughts and pick the solution that will maximize your return.

STEP #4 Making a decision

When you have evaluated all the solutions, it’s time to make a decision. One decision is better than none.

  1. Look up the “unwritten rules that you are about to break before making a decision.
  2. Weigh in the consequences of your decisions. Rapid decisions can have serious implications, especially if you are a leader. So, be aware of the economic, social, political challenges of your decisions.
  3. Luckily, the leader does not have to resolve every problem on their own. To make better decisions, involve your team in the decision-making process. However, the final decisions is up to you.
  4. Seek to solve the problem long-term.
  5. Take the necessary time to make the right decision. You don’t need to impress or to act fast, you need to act right.

STEP #5 Executing the decision

After finding the perfect solution and making your decision, start implementing it:

  1. Set goals and deadlines that align with your goals.
  2. Keep your goals in mind.
  3. Focus on the outcomes of the solution and visualize the best scenario.

STEP #6 Measuring your progress & Monitoring the problem

Unfortunately, problems don’t solve themselves and can grow as time passes by. If the roots of the problem still persist:

  1. Assess the impact of your current decision.
  2. Reward yourself if your solution is bringing positive results.
  3. If your plan doesn’t work, cut the losses and get back up.
  4. Ask for additional help. 
  5. Execute your plan B if you have one. Revisit the problem, start over the solving process otherwise.
  6. Take a break before moving on to the next problem.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

The Importance Of Successfully Leading Through Change

To remain competitive, most organizations stay up to date on every technology, continually propose innovative products and always embrace change. However, putting change into practice is much more complex than it appears.

To that effect, effective leaders have to be confident, self-aware, self-assured, strategic, adaptable, bold, resourceful, driven, accountable and able to think on their feet. Needless to say, ineffective leadership hinders change, creates mistrust, disengagement, misalignment and a loss of moral among employees.

Wondering how to successfully lead change and overcome resistance?

Leading Through Change

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

It has the ability to stimulate interest in a job and can be perceived as a new challenge. It also creates an opportunity for promotion and to learn new skills.

Change becomes compulsory and evident in the workplace during societal movements, when the values and beliefs of both leaders and employees no longer match those of the company. Change also happens when the organization requires new skills, new products or services, policies update, restructuring, or relocation.

Resistance to change

Change brings about an initial resistance, can easily become chaotic and unstable. When faced with change, most people believe that they will:

  • potentially lose their current position,
  • be demoted, that their career will eventually suffer or that their hard work will be devalued,
  • be working for a lower salary,
  • lose control over their own life,
  • live in the unknown.

The unknown generates strong emotions in people. Therefore, employees tend to resist change when they are surprised or unprepared, don’t understand the reasons for the change, are not implicated enough in the decision-making process.

Indeed, some people will openly express their resistance to change, some will voluntarily sabotage change, others will quietly and passively express their discontent. It is the role of the leader to temper such behavior and push change.

How to implement change?

The leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise. To lead the change process from start to finish:

  1. Assess your own ability to handle change. Before undertaking such mission, ensure that you believe in the change and that it doesn’t go against your principles. In addition, keep in mind that reacting to the change is much more difficult than initiating it. Either you can start the movement, participate in it or suffer and react to it.
  2. Stay disciplinedresilient and patient. The change process is slow and everybody moves at their own pace.
  3. Learn to communicate your vision which encompasses your values and morals.
  4. Be authentic and transparent in order to build trust and to improve relationships. Change is much more difficult to implement when there is a climate of mistrust.
  5. Be open to feedback and to making alterations to the original plan of action.
  6. Ask probing questions to key employees, acknowledge that you don’t know all the answers and be open to learn continually. This will allow you to gather appropriate information, to anticipate issues, to maximize effort.
  7. Evaluate the right amount of change you want to implement. You don’t want to overwhelm or burn out your employees .
  8. Calculate the costs and determine the feasibility of the change to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It becomes critical to motivate the necessary time and resources, to place emphasis on the value and sustainability of change.
  9. Analyze the consequences of change before undertaking anything.
  10. Understand the company culture, its values and beliefs in order to best present ideas and to determine a proper structure.
  11. Design a clear strategy and outcome for the process. For example, you can break the change process into smaller steps, prioritize them and create metrics to measure progress.
  12. Identify the influencers and the people who are open to change in your organization. Find informal leaders in your organization, who will motivate others and who will instill pride in their work.
  13. Discuss the implications of change with your employees and increase the number of meetings if necessary. Listen to the questions and concerns of your employees. It is necessary to reassure people about the upcoming changes by explaining to them the reasons and the benefits for change.
  14. Directly address problems, don’t micromanage and don’t openly criticize dissenting voices in order to shut them up.
  15. Keep your energy up during the process, motivate your team and show them the positive sides of the transformation. Persuade your employees that they will benefit from the change to increase commitment.
  16. Encourage collaboration on your team, mitigate conflicts and maintain harmony as much as possible because emotions are high.
  17. Set high expectations and give your team the confidence to deal with changes and gain their approval every step of the way.
  18. Give your employees more ownership of their work to increase commitment.
  19. Expect setbacks. Understand that the risks are worth the rewards and that it is OK to fail. People don’t take risks when there are no personal rewards, there is no clemency towards failure.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.