by Danette Dixon
Going through the Blind Leaders Development Program as a fellow has been very intense. This cohort program is 10 months long, and each person has a mentor. I have never met my mentor in person, but the past 7 months learning from her has been a tremendous experience. We meet via the phone twice per month. In this program we are reading the book called “The Leadership Challenge 6th Edition,” which is available on Audible. My mentor and I have gone through the book together and looked at where I need to improve on some of the leadership skills.
Approach leadership as a measurable, learnable, and teachable set of behaviors.
Five practices to make extraordinary things happen:
- Model the Way
- Inspire a Shared Vision
- Challenge the Process
- Enable Others to Act
- Encourage the Heart
The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) instrument is an essential tool to help you gain perspective into how you see yourself as a leader, how others view you, and what actions you can take to improve. First I had to evaluate myself on 30 statements about each of the five behaviors listed above. It is measured on a 10-point scale. Then I had to get about 15 people to evaluate me on the same topics. I got around 12 people to do the evaluation — managers, direct reports, co-workers, and others. It was fun to see how others evaluated me. Most of the time I evaluated myself much lower than others did.
Some of the things I will keep with me are:
- I have the right to have confidence to be the best leader I can be.
- Persistence, take risks, do not be afraid to fail, learn from the mistake.
- Value the role of humility in order to change, and lead to make the difference.
- Recognize and praise others in public for a job well done, get personally involved in recognizing great stuff, expect the best.
- Have a mentor to encourage me to fulfill my vision.
- Trust builds confidence, and begins with me.
- Take ownership; do what I say I will do.
- Do what I say, not what I do.
- Get feedback to seek other opinions; seek to understand, then try to be understood.
Three thoughts that I will always keep in front of my mind:
- Think about when you as a leader have performed at your personal best.
- When my term is complete as the president, how do I want others to remember me?
- Write a personal mission statement.
I will always be striving to be the best leader I can be. A few characteristics of an admired leader that I will hang onto are: honesty, responsibility, dedication, persistence, and purposeful. This article is just a little taste of the Blind Leaders Development Program, which I highly recommend. I will always be learning and growing to be the best leader I can be.