Time for a Leadership Workout?

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Leadership is like swimming; you can’t learn it by reading about it.

–Henry Mintzberg

If you want to be great at most things, you need to practice.

If you want to be a great swimmer you need to go to the pool regularly to practice your crawl, your breaststroke, your butterfly, etc.

If you want to be a great guitarist you need to go the studio regularly and practice your scales, your rhythm patterns, and your riffs, etc.

If you want to be a great tennis player you need to go to the court regularly and practice your serve, your smash, your backhand, etc.

If you want to be a great leader, you need to go somewhere to practice inspiring, encouraging, influencing, etc?

Great sportspeople, great musicians, great dancers, etc.  do not simply “do” their disciple, they “are” their discipline; Roger Federer doesn’t just play tennis, he is tennis!

Becoming great, or even very good at something takes conscious practice, it doesn’t just happen overnight, the road from “consciously incompetent” to “consciously competent” is long and frustrating and when you get there, the journey hasn’t finished; the ultimate goal is “unconsciously competent” – that’s when you start “being” and stop simply “doing”!

All the greats have regular “workouts” they go to the swimming pool, the gym, the studio, etc. to practice and keep their skills up; I would be very surprised if Federer, Nadal or Djokovic would go into an important and difficult match without having some kind of “warm-up” or work out” before the real thing.

If you want to become great at leadership, you need to practice; you need to work out regularly in some kind of “safe environment”; somewhere, where if your influence fails and people aren’t as inspired and energised as you expected, you can learn and grow your leadership.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other

–John F. Kennedy

Where do you go for a leadership workout?

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Bob Larcher
Bob Larcher is an independent leadership development consultant; he has been designing & delivering personal, team & leadership development programs for almost 35 years, both in English and in French and his clients include Blue Chip corporate giants, Charities, Start-ups, and the Public Sector. Bob is also a visiting lecturer at several French Business Schools. Since his first leadership seminar in 1986, Bob has designed and delivered in excess of 3000 days of training & coaching. His background is in Outdoor Management Development and he was previously a shareholder of a major player in the UK market; he is an Accredited Practitioner of the UK Institute of Outdoor Learning and a member of the panel reviewing articles for their journal, “Horizons”. He is based in Toulouse in France but works all over Europe. Bob is an accredited Insights Discovery Personal Profile user, an accredited Integrated Leadership Measure user and a Master Trainer in Mental Toughness. He also designs customized 360° leadership & management evaluations Bob is passionate about helping people to discover, develop and deploy their leadership capacity in order to enable them to drive the personal, organizational and societal transformations they are involved in.
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Len Bernat

Bob – When I was in the workforce, I viewed every day as an opportunity to be a leader – even if that was not a requirement of my position. In my last job as the Purchasing Manager for a county government, the new County Manager told an employee that something could not be accomplished. Their reply – Ask Len, he can get anything done. As you can guess, he wasn’t happy with their response and even more upset when he asked me to look into the matter and I got it done. But, leadership is about setting a vision and helping other to see your vision with the desire to make it become reality. And you don’t need a title for that.

Maureen Nowicki
Maureen Nowicki

A good discussion has been opened up here. I am in a unique and specialized field and I have a mentor and a guide right now who has taught me not only about the technical aspects of the business but also the aspects of leadership. I am in a business course with her at the moment to work with myself and to lead others. I am in the thick of things and feel Bob, I will always need to keep flexing my muscle for learning. I believe we all do. I believe there is no end in becoming strong in leadership as we are all evolving ourselves and this how we show up in the world to others. Thank you for the time you spent on this work and your vocation.

Len Bernat

Maureen – You have half the battle won because you realize that each day will teach you something new about leadership, people, skill sets, team interactions, etc. To be a leader, you can never stop learning because that is how we grow. Add a strong mentor in the mix and you have great tools preparing you for an amazing future. Best of luck!

Maureen Nowicki
Maureen Nowicki

Thank you for your reply Len -it is very much appreciated!