Senior management understands the value of investing in future leadership, but also realizes that to find extraordinary leaders it is important to look for outstanding qualities that are multidimensional, strategically developed, and tempered by experience.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding your leadership development objectives:

Do I have a panoramic vision of the organization?
Leading from the top doesn’t always work in today’s diverse and complex companies, so develop a more panoramic and cross-departmental vision and understanding to ensure sustainable success. Knowing how to operate horizontally and diagonally, in other words, is the fastest way to earn a vertical promotion.

How do I handle workplace politics?
Volunteer up, praise down, and never repeat office gossip. Pitch in to reinforce the performance of your bosses when you see room for improvement. Promote and support those on your team or your employees. Never speak about someone in a way that you aren’t prepared to say to their face. Follow that code and you’ll win supportive allies in every direction.

What really motivates people?
People are motivated by what they dream about and love, and unless you understand what that means to each individual you will be a less effective leader. Take the time to get to know those around you, including what makes them tick both professionally and personally. Then and only then will you know the formula for motivating others as a natural leader.

Where is the blind spot I’m missing?
How you believe others see you may not coincide with workplace reality. So participate in a 360 review of yourself because otherwise you risk getting out of touch with yourself and everyone around you. Excellent feedback is also how you’ll identify your strengths so that you can leverage those for greater leadership success.

Who do I want to follow and why?
To develop as a better leader it is essential that we have mentors, role models, and our own iconic leaders. Identify those you want to follow and then analyze why they represent great leadership to you. Then emulate their examples to create your own leadership legacy.

To succeed you have to carefully define your leadership style and image and project it through a positive presence that inspires confidence and exudes credibility and strength. Knowing answers to the questions above will give you a wonderful platform from which to continue to grow and develop – which is the telltale symptom of a dynamic leader.

What are you planning to do this year to enhance your leadership skills? I’d love to hear your goals and learn your own special top five leadership tips!

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS is an internationally distinguished executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker, and the founding CEO of her own company, Illustra Consulting. A career acceleration and leadership presence expert, Hathorn created the innovative Predictable Promotion System, a 10-step proprietary process she uses to coach managers aspiring to be directors, directors seeking vice presidential promotions, and VP’s eager to ascend to the C-suite. Hathorn served as a senior level executive for a Fortune 100 company for 25 years, and she has more than 30 years of experience mentoring high potentials for rapid career advancement and extraordinary success.
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