I recently had the opportunity to do a talk as part of a Women in Leadership lecture series. The title of the talk was “Yes We Can – Developing Next Generation Leaders.” I covered leadership lessons from my many years of experience, the challenges for women in STEM, and general career advice. The group had a lot of great questions and comments from their experience, so it was a lively and interactive session.
Regardless of gender, if you are a leader or future leader, these tips may be useful to you.
Find a mentor. You can’t do it yourself. Find someone you consider a role model and who is willing to invest some time and energy in helping you develop.
Let go and be willing to delegate. If you try to do it all yourself, you won’t develop others nor have time to do the work that allows you to grow.
Give up on perfectionism. It is the enemy of good. It wastes time and keeps you from doing other work.
Ask for feedback. Take off the blinders and ask for honest feedback from your staff, your boss, your peers, and your customers. What should you start doing, stop doing and continue doing.
Consider everything a learning opportunity. Remember that you can learn from every experience. Whether it is a new skill, knowledge or lesson on how to improve for next time.
Be open to the possibilities. Think of all the jobs that didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago and ones that may exist in the future. Technology and healthcare continue to change. Organizations evolve. Be open to new opportunities.
Work life balance is a challenge for everyone. Figure out what it means for you. Share your goals with family, friends and colleagues. Don’t give up when it gets hard – instead, revisit your goals and renew your commitment.
PDCA (plan-do-check-act). Apply that basic quality improvement concept to you. At the right intervals look at what is working well and what is not. Adjust and implement. Then repeat.
Be a continuous learner. Continually learn from your peers and experts in the field. Share your learnings with others.
Own your own career. Your success depends on you, the choices you make, and the people you enlist to be on “team you!”
Leaders must be teachers and willing to share. It is important to talk and write about your successes, failures, and learnings so others can benefit from your experience.