Once a person makes it to a certain rank in their company, it can be easy to become complacent, especially when things are going great and seem pretty darn easy. But instead of simply sitting back and coasting along, you could be long overdue for learning a new skill.
If you’re an efficient manager, you’re always encouraging your employees to grow, learn and adapt to the workplace and now it’s time for you to follow your own advice. But where do you start? For instance, do you lack knowledge about your organization, or does your companies’ social media campaign intimidate you?
Okay, deciding you need to learn a new skill is overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure of your own shortcomings. Before you start taking speaking classes or signing up for a how-to on social media, perhaps you should first seek feedback from those around you. Openness to feedback allows you to build important relationships with your partners and it also can help you narrow down a skill you can improve upon.
There’s no simple way to learn a new skill, but here are some approaches you can take:
Get a coach, or find a mentor. Management and leadership skills can be learned. Just as you coach others for improvement, you can improve in your own skills.
Look at your organization’s environment. Are imagination and creativity encouraged? To encourage others toward creativity, listen to their ideas and allow differing ideas, discussion and reasonable conflict.
Make sure you understand your industry, your organization, and its products and services thoroughly. As you review your knowledge, focus on gaps in services or products that you notice, and allow yourself to visualize how to fill in the gaps.
Increase your visibility throughout the organization. Get “loaned” to other parts of the organization. Participate in projects that can benefit from high energy “jump-starts.”
If you do not have technical expertise or the time to help others, make sure you have identified someone in your office as a technical resource. It is essential that you have someone on hand who can help with technical problems or questions.
Reflect on your successes and failures, and think about how you would manage your failures if they happened today. Everyone makes mistakes; what exemplary leaders do is to learn from their mistakes and incorporate the learning into making changes in the future.
Hire your own coach for a period of time. Notice what this person does to help you succeed in achieving your goals, and practice using similar methods with your team members when appropriate.
Take up a new hobby, or sign up for a class in a field that is very different from yours. Stretch yourself to take risks in areas that are not crucial to your work. You may find that risk-taking becomes more comfortable and even exciting with practice. Is there something that you have always wanted to try but didn’t because you were afraid to fail? Now is the time.
Go ahead and think outside the box when it comes to a new skill. One key item to keep in mind, when learning a new skill, is to track the progress and hold yourself accountable. Continue to get feedback from others on how you are progressing and what you can do to improve upon.
Don’t forget – once you sharpen up your new skill, pay it forward and teach it to others.