By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO & Founder of Kent Business Solutions
I love the word "savvy." You hear it sparingly; however, it's a must-have quality for all business leaders. And when you hear the the definition, I think you would agree! It means "shrewdness and practical knowledge; the ability to make good judgments." You combine that with "leadership," and that's a winning combo.
So, what does it take to increase your leadership savviness? Here are five steps for raising your quotient:
1. Read, Read, Read
We've all heard how important it is for business leaders to read regularly. Business icons like Mark Cuban read three hours a day, and Warren Buffet reads 500 pages per day!
There are always audiobooks, YouTube, and even online classes you can take for those who don't like to read. The point is this: it keeps important concepts top of mind. Not only that but here are a few other benefits:
And don't we all need less stress in our lives?
2. Listen and Observe Intently
Become a student of leaders you admire through critical listening and observation. Doing so can teach you a wealth of information. This approach works well with excellent leaders you admire and with whom you're acquainted. Even informal conversations with them can give you nuggets of wisdom you can use in your everyday work lives.
Also, observing how they lead can give you ideas of ways to emulate them.
3. Learn from Your Mistakes
Many wannabe leaders hate making mistakes and don't take risks, limiting their ability to step into more responsible roles. On the other hand, great leaders know that making mistakes and learning from them is part of the process. It's a part of their development course, though certainly, not intentionally.
I advise you: don't be afraid of making mistakes! Most managers are tolerant and understanding when you do, especially if you let them know you want to grow in taking risks.
4. Work with Mentors
Great leaders became that way through mentors passing on their knowledge to them. I say "mentors" because having more than one is better than just one!
If you don't have any, start asking leaders you admire to mentor you, even if you think they might be too busy. You may be pleasantly surprised when they say "yes"!
5. Practice What You've Learned
Put into action all that you've learned. If you're working with a mentor, develop an action plan and review progress during your follow-on meetings. Continually update your plan based on achieving your goals and new areas you want to grow.
And stick to it. Growing into a great leader requires due diligence and intentional effort.
These are just a few steps to increase your leadership savviness. The key is to be open to learning from everyday experiences and from leaders you admire.
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