I was recently a participant in the KWSM Leadership Program, a comprehensive 12-week training led by KWSM President Katie Wagner. Before this program, I thought being a leader meant being in the forefront, having more power, and leading from the front. However, my idea of leadership has completely changed. Being a leader is about being flexible, adaptable, reflective, and being internally aware of yourself and and externally aware of others. The KWSM Leadership Program was designed not only to provide professional development for our team, but also to improve how we navigate our day-to-day lives.
My Journey Through The Program
“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”
― Stephen R. Covey.
My favorite thing about this experience was how it constantly challenged any former perspectives I had. This program made me think differently about my role as a leader, how I approach leadership, and how I can lead more effectively. We covered many topics: establishing a vision, relationship management, time management, decision making, goal setting, communication, influence, change management, and ownership/accountability. I truly appreciated this experience because it provided professional development resources to ensure that I can perform at my best and be the most effective in how I lead as I grow with the company.
My Biggest Takeaways
We often visualize leaders as being those who are always in charge, speaking the most, or are metaphorically “on top.” When, in actuality, leading is about self-governance and influencing others through the example you set. Leadership is about understanding and implementing emotional intelligence and social awareness. Effective leaders are highly adaptable; not rigid. They are able to adjust their approach based on the receiver to effectively get the job done. Here are the biggest lessons I took with me:
- Establishing a personal vision for yourself is just as important as understanding the vision for your team.
- Setting goals is more than just writing them down. You must create a realistic action plan to help you reach those goals. (Also, it helps if you have a reliable accountability partner.)
- Always aim to be concise and succinct in your communication to avoid confusion.
- Understanding how you communicate and how others communicate can improve the delivery and perception of your message.
- Apply extreme ownership and accountability to everything you do. Your team will respond more positively than you think.
- Learn to receive feedback and understand how negative feedback/situations affect your performance and perception.
- To improve your change management skills, support the company’s goals by embracing the change and actively getting your team onboard.
- Although sometimes leadership come naturally, it can also be learned with the right focus, tenacity, and diligence.
The insight, new perspectives, and experiences I’ve had with this program are all lessons I’ll never forget. I look forward to continuing to grow as I become a leader in the agency.
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