Closing the Gap to Exceptional Leadership


Closing the Gap to Exceptional Leadership

2 minute read | By Garry Crosby | Building New Skills | Published: 08/02/2024


Exceptional leadership doesn’t just happen; you’ll need to craft it through dedication, observation, and reflection. To elevate your leadership from good to great, you need to engage in a continuous process of learning and growth.

Here are three key skills that can help you bridge the gap:

Becoming a Student of Leadership

Leadership is an art and a science that demands lifelong learning. The journey to exceptional leadership begins with a commitment to education. This means:

Delving into seminal works on leadership, such as those by Marshall Goldsmith, Stephen Covey and Simon Sinek, as well as insights from the Harvard Business Review.

Attending workshops, seminars, and courses that challenge your understanding and expand your perspective.

Seeking mentorship and coaching to receive personalised guidance and feedback.

Key Point: The pursuit of knowledge is non-negotiable for exceptional leadership.

Becoming an Observer of Leadership during the Normal Working Day

Observation is a powerful tool for learning. By paying close attention to how leadership is exercised around you, you gain practical insights that textbooks cannot provide. This involves:

Watching how leaders handle conflict, make decisions, and inspire their teams.

Noticing the impact of different leadership styles on team morale and productivity.

Identifying leadership behaviours you admire and those you’d prefer to avoid.

Key Point: Every day is a masterclass in leadership if you’re willing to pay attention.

Taking Time to Reflect on Leadership You’ve Learnt About and Observed

Reflection turns observation and learning into actionable insights. It requires setting aside time to think deeply about what you’ve learned and observed. This process should include:

Evaluating the effectiveness of various leadership styles and techniques in different situations.

Assessing what aspects of observed leadership align with your values and which do not.

Planning how to incorporate these lessons into your own leadership approach.

Key Point: Reflection is the lens that brings your leadership development into focus.

Remember, exceptional leadership is within reach if you’re committed to developing these three key skills. It’s a journey that requires becoming a diligent student, a keen observer, and a reflective practitioner. By embracing these roles, you’ll discover not just the leader you are, but the leader you have the potential to become.