Leveraging Others

As we tackle our jobs, we often seek out individuals with specific technical skills when they are required to complete a task or project on the job. When it comes to leadership skills, we often shy away from finding subject matter experts to help us. Why? It’s often a myriad of reasons. We forget, we don’t want to admit that we are deficient in a particular skill, we are too self-critical, we are time constrained, we are too task focused, we don’t know how…and the list goes on and on.

If you are focused on a skill that we don’t have a video for yet, here are some quick tips on how to leverage others to help you:

  • OBSERVE OTHERS: As Yogi Berra famously said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Even if the humor was unintentional, the advice is sound. If you work with people who are good at a skill you wish to hone, watch them in action. Take note of what they do, how they do it, and what results they achieve. As you observe, consider what makes this person so effective at applying this skill. How do they use it to influence others? How do they apply it across different situations? After you observe closely, you can debrief with this person, probing for insight into why they did what they did and how they built skill in that area.
  • SCOUT RESOURCES: Look for online resources or books on the topic. Is there a TED talk? Harvard Business Review article? Whitepapers? What business management books might exist on the topic? Ask someone who is well read for recommendations. You can also use the Walker Management Library to find a book or reference.
  • LEVERAGE YOUR NETWORK: Owen’s 9,000 alumni can be a valuable resource for skill development. Start having conversations with classmates, alumni within your company, and others about the leadership skills you are interested in improving.
  • LOOK INTERNALLY: Don’t forget to look into resources – training, online resources, knowledge management systems – you can access through your own organization’s HR function.
  • PARTNER UP: Find someone else seeking to improve the same skill as you.  Partner up to share ideas, hold each other accountable, challenge each other, and give each other support and feedback.
  • FIND A MENTOR: Ask someone whom you admire to help you better understand a specific topic or master a specific skill. Seek advice and insights from his/her experiences, and look for nuggets that you can apply. Ask your mentor to offer feedback based on observations of your work.