Archive for September, 2011

Create a Vision for Success: Real Leadership

September 6, 2011

Leaders are made, not born!  Yes, there is such a person we characterize as a “natural leader” but effective leadership is developed over the span of one’s career.  We all know people who have acted as  extraordinary leaders when situations call for such actions, but right now,  we are focused on building the skills sets which define and express leadership in ALL situations.

First, define leadership within your world: a meeting planning environment, a trade show environment, a member association or a vendor supplier company in support of the meetings industry.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is an effective leader in my immediate work group?    
  2. What are the leadership qualities I see in that person?
  3. How is this person viewed by upper management in my work culture?
  4. Do I want to be like that leader? 
  5. Am I comfortable learning from that leader?

Answering these and other related questions enable you to “try on” a level of leadership that appears effective in your world today.  This is the first step in determining your vision of future success for you personally.

Also, you will begin to define for yourself what leadership is for you.  It’s not the same for each person; it is individualized not as if it were comprised of some “canned” characteristics that we pull out of our bag of tricks.

Effective leadership may be strong clear communication, intelligent analysis, and a good dose of charisma, but it can be quiet, nudging from the back of the team, and asking compelling questions.

Second, leadership is encouraged by others, by mentors who will help you on your path as a developing leader.  Don’t rely on a formal mentoring program; if your organization doesn’t have such a program, select someone who exhibits the leadership qualities you want to develop and ask that person to guide you.  There were “mentoring” activities going on in organizations well before the advent of mentoring programs.

Of course, if you are an established leader in your organization, offer to mentor a young professional.  Get to know what the person wants in leadership development and mutually agree on a simple plan.

Next, expose yourself to all the leadership educational opportunities you can find.  PCMA’s Education Conference offers an extensive array of training in leadership plus various areas every year, and of course, there are many online tools, social media groups, etc. for the exchange of ideas about leadership.

Also, be patient, this is not a personality change, this is personal development and it takes time to try some things, fail at some things, and succeed at others.

However, the last point: it IS important once you have chosen your career path, and defined your intention to fulfill your professional standards, that you set your sights to achieve success as a leader, as defined by YOU.