Part 2: It’s About Being Intentional
Part 1 of this series was about setting leadership development goals in the New Year for successful implementation. First, the goal needs to be framed appropriately – an approach goal that is specific, time-bound, and measurable. But goals don’t magically occur once set, they need an action plan, an implementation intention.
One great way to get the gist of this is from a 4-minute video by Bite Size Psych (There’s a link in our Resources page under Implementation Intentions. But to investigate it even more, look into the research on deliberate practice by K. Anders Ericsson .
What this research tells us that we can gain expertise in just about anything by being very deliberate, or intentional, about how we practice it. So, setting specific goals is a starting point to identifying what to practice when comes to leadership development, and with this post we will explore how to deliberately practice leadership behaviors. We need an action plan and one that cues us to utilize a new behavior. The easiest way to do this, is to create some If/Then statements: “if it is 8am on Monday, then I will send three emails to colleagues with positive feedback.” The IF provides the cue, the THEN makes very clear what will happen.
The most interesting piece about this process is that it focuses on small changes, rather than grandiose, yet insurmountable changes. Deliberate practice is about incremental change, not the big bang of suddenly being a completely different person (which is quite unrealistic), rather, taking an incremental and intentional approach to changing the way one leads, or, perhaps more accurately, aligning one’s leader behaviors with one’s leader identity narrative. In other words, become the leader we want to be is not a rapid change from one day to the next, but when we are deliberate and intentional about making incremental changes, we evolve into our ideal over time.
What small change will you make in your leading behaviors that gets you closer to your leadership goals?