I am fortunate that my career allows me to work regularly with dozens of Emerging Leaders as I coach them to help them to realize their leadership potential. It is fulfilling and gratifying work and I am thankful to have an opportunity to work with so many bright and energetic young leaders who have such big plans and ambitious goals. I reflected recently on my good fortune and realized that I could take some of the lessons I try to teach my clients and share them with Emerging Leaders all over the world via my blog and our Youtube channel videos. This article is the first installment of that effort. I hope you find it valuable, thought-provoking, and relevant.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Feedback
Occasionally, young leaders are a bit intimidated by their managers and leaders. This intimidation leads to them being tentative in conversations about how they are performing and what their priorities should be. My advice for Emerging Leaders is to rip off the band-aid and seek feedback from your manager immediately. While you may occasionally hear from the manager that you need to improve in an area or two, wouldn’t you want to know that early so that you could work on improving it? It’s best to know where you stand with your manager, and it’s helpful to be able to turn feedback into features. Once you know what your boss wants, you can just go to work on delivering it to her, right? Get started…
2. Manage Your Boss Like A Master
Entire books have been written about managing up, but here are 4 essentials for starters. One, it’s about making your boss successful. If your boss is successful, you are likely to ride along. Two, you need to engage and invest your energy to help your boss manage you and lead you. It’s about building trust and collaborating together at a high level. Third, you need to ensure that you keep learning as you make mistakes. Own them, and let your boss know you’re learning from them and won’t repeat them. Finally, communicate! Let your boss know what you’re working on, what you’ve accomplished, what’s next. Communication must be clear, concise and it must be a two-way street.
3. Executive Summaries Are A Thing For A Reason
Why do people create Executive Summaries? That’s right, because Executives are busy, and they are in a big hurry to change the world for the better. I see rookie Emerging Leaders make a mistake frequently. They get their first meeting before the Board or the Executive Leadership Team and they jam forty pounds of content into a ten-pound bag. This is their first chance to let the bigwigs know what they’re doing and they decide that volume is more important than impactful insights. Don’t overwhelm your leaders with what you’re working on. They want a quick, clear summary of the most important work that you’re accomplishing, not an encyclopedic list of everything you’ve done in the last 12 months. Put your best foot forward by emphasizing no more than 3 key points whenever you’re communicating upward to your leaders.
4. It’s Always About Creating Value
Our young leaders have gotten a bad rap about being entitled and being clueless about how to behave in the workplace. That’s nonsense! There are just as many smart millennials as any other generation and there are just as many clueless young people as there are clueless baby boomers. Here’s what’s important. Nobody is entitled to anything, ever. If you want to accelerate your development and your growth through your career, you must realize that serving others and creating value for your prospects, customers, colleagues, and organization are the ticket to the promised land. Companies invest in and promote young leaders who prove that they can consistently create value. Every day. Get busy creating value through your hard work and your leadership of others. The rest will likely take care of itself.
5. Make It A Point To Master Your Emotions
In the last 30 years, a lot of research and science has identified that Emotional Intelligence is one of the most powerful differentiators for Emerging Leaders. Simply, if you learn to bring out the best in yourself in every situation and you learn to bring out the best in everyone around you in every situation, you become astonishingly valuable to yourself, colleagues, customers, and your company. If you don’t know enough about Emotional Intelligence make it a priority to work with an Emotional Intelligence coach to get yourself assessed and work with your coach to develop a customized Emotional Maturity growth plan and raise the level of your Emotional Intelligence. You will never regret that decision, I promise you. You can grow your Emotional Intelligence and simultaneously increase your influence with everyone around you. Do it.
Well, there you have it. My primer on how to become a highly successful Emerging Leader. Just a few words of wisdom culled from a career’s worth of experiences as a manager and a leader, in which I have developed some great managers and leaders. What do you think? What do you FEEL about Emerging Leadership? Is it easy? Is it hard? What are you struggling with? What are you wishing you had help with? Please, feel free to share your comments with us and help us start a dialogue with other Emerging Leaders so we can help to shorten the learning curve for one another.
Michael is the founder and CEO of Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting, an award-winning business advisory and leadership development coaching firm. Michael is passionate about developing great leadership abilities in Emerging Leaders so that they can one day go on to found great entrepreneurial companies or ascend to the C-Suite leadership level one day. Keep an eye out for Michael’s new podcast, “What Are You Doing?” in which the conversation will be geared toward developing strong leadership at all levels and will help Senior Leaders to understand how to invest in developing Emerging Leaders and will equip Emerging Leaders to invest in themselves to speed their journey to Greatness.