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?
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.
#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:
- Be aware of the content of your thoughts.
- Identify triggers, patterns in your thought process.
- Be selective about the information that come into your mind.
- Understand that you are not the prisoner of your thoughts.
- Think about who you want to become and how you want to affect people.
- Focus on what is going right instead of what is going wrong.
- Acknowledge personal success.
#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.
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!
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