Leaders are busy. Stretched to capacity. Focused on developing their people.
So, how can they make sure their own developmental needs are being addressed?
The truth is, once we reach a certain milestone in our careers, most of our professional development is experiential. Yes, you can take certificate programs, workshops, or get an MBA. But those don’t always fit nicely into a “stretched” existence.
One solution to the leadership development gap is to create a self-directed drip-feed of learning that is easy to access and fits into your on-the-go life and leadership practices. Supercharge it by trying to align topics with the feedback you received about your performance in recent 360 feedback or performance reviews.
Most leaders are, naturally, voracious learners. However, I watch many consume mass amounts of information so that they become very knowledgeable (like a walking Google), but they don’t put much into action.
Don’t become one of those leaders. Ask yourself consistently as you learn new things: “How can I apply this and put it into action?” Be your own case study!
Here are some of my recent favorite resources for leadership development in case you’re looking for something new to devour for yourself.
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle (also on Audible) – I work with a lot of leadership teams. So, all of my clients received a copy of this as a holiday gift. The contents of this book are applicable to company culture and team culture.
FYI (For Your Improvement) This is a hefty resource, and a must-have for your own development and to rely on when you’re having development conversations with your employees. This book outlines 38 competencies and (my favorite part) what they look like in overuse, under-use and when in balance. Each competency includes a reference guide for learning on the topic. I’ve been using this for years and also love FYI for Teams.
The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, Dethmer, Chapman, and Klemp (also on Audible) – This is an excellent read for anyone who is curious about how we can integrate spirituality and general good heartedness into our leadership practices
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown (also on Audible) – was also gifted to many of my clients. She includes exercises for personal exploration and refreshing (evidence-based) insights into modern leadership. The world is calling for us to show up differently. This book will get you thinking about your own role and how to level-up.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry & Greaves (also on Audible) – this is somewhat of a classic by now. I still use this with clients because of the assessment included with the book. The results give us deep insight into specific components of EI we can address and the behaviors and actions to help the client develop.
Unlocking High Performance by Jason Lauritsen, focuses on modernizing our Employee Engagement practices. If you are a people leader or an HR professional, you are going to eat this book up for it’s beautifully articulated road-map and its robust list of resources. This is a must-read if you are looking to sharpen your personal approach to employee management. Certainly a must if you’re building a business case for your company to change your performance review practices. The case studies included in the book are powerful! (We have an interview coming soon with Jason on The Life & Leadership Podcast. Be sure you’ve subscribed and are ready to tune into this one! This is one of my most favorite interviews!)
Hidden Brilliance, by Katie Rasoul (You can listen to an interview with Katie here). This book offers a compelling story of how anyone can re-write their definition of success and regain the self-trust to make bold moves. Part personal experience, part lessons on how to improve the way we live and work; this book provides a blueprint for high-achievers to approach fear in a way that’s meaningful and helpful so they can unlock potential for total greatness.
Conversational Intelligence, by Judith Glaser (also on Audible) – helped me let my nerd flag fly! The book explains the relationship of neuroscience and conversation. Every single interaction at work either triggers fear inducing hormones (cortisol) or the love hormone (oxytocin). She provides some interesting ideas on how to have more of the latter in conversations and meetings. This is the source of creation, innovation and problem resolution in business!
Tim Ferriss Podcast – The episodes are long. Which is great, because I can’t get enough! I listen to the episodes in bite-sized chunks. I also sent his book, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers to several of my clients (and my husband) this year. I highly recommend the digital version. This is a whopper in print! So many pages to support all that insight.
Zen Founder Podcast – The couple who host this podcast are doing great things for company founders and startups! She’s a psychologist and he is a serial entrepreneur. They’re married. They share poignant ideas and practices about the experiences of entrepreneurship, family and marriage.
Harvard Business Review Daily Emails They have several daily and weekly digests to choose from. Take your pick!
Seth Godin’s Daily Email Seth is known for his contributions to the field of Marketing and for his refreshing voice related to broader business issues and opportunities. I re-share and re-tweet his writing on a regular basis. If you prefer candor, you’ll love Seth!
Tim Ferriss’s 5-bullet Friday Email Just as the title indicates, this email is simple: 5 ideas, thoughts and/or resources to explore each week. These include quotes, books, documentaries, tech, and other things that Tim is into that week.
For Women Leaders
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, by Valerie Young. I gift several copies of this book to people each month and many of my clients gift this book to team members. I reference her materials in workshops with both women and men (because women are not the only ones who experience the Impostor Syndrome!
Emerging Women Podcast The host snags some amazing women leaders for interviews. Nothing is off the table. Real and inspiring. This one will nourish your soul and strengthen your leadership muscle at the same time.
Enjoy and as you implement your professional development drip-feed, remember that you are your own case study. Be intentional in applying the information you take in.