Most people don’t become good leaders overnight. They are active learners; testing and revising their approaches and seeking opportunities to hone in on their leadership and management skills.
The ability to lead effectively is really a skill that needs to be nurtured throughout one’s career. Training courses like the University of Vermont’s Leadership and Management Certificate Program, which includes eight topics featured in deep-dive seminars, helps professionals to develop their leadership capabilities and skills in the context of today’s business and management challenges. Participants can choose the entire program series or focus on a specific area of leadership and management, such as Emotional Intelligence or Conflict and Negotiation, in an individual seminar.
But what can you do with those newly acquired or finely tuned skills after you have that training certificate in hand? We caught up with UVM’s Grossman School of Business Management Professor and Leadership and Management Seminar Instructor Rocki-Lee DeWitt to collect a few tips on practical application of leadership skills.
5 Steps to Utilize Your Leadership Training
- Become More Self Reflective. DeWitt recommends that even before you start your leadership training you should take the time to think about your role as a leader. What type of leader you are trying to become? What do you hope to get out of spending time on professional development? Self-reflection is an exercise to undertake throughout your career. Many executives take a moment to journal at the beginning and end of each day to stay attuned with their goals and the manner in which day matters.
- Succeed in Persuading and Influencing. What does success look like at your organization and where does your role and others intersect? The ability to understand your organizational role, the stakeholders connected to your role, and how you can champion an undertaking is essential for progress. “UVM’s Leadership and Management program has a heavy emphasis on organizational analysis and review of the context of the organization,” said DeWitt. “It’s important to understand where you have discretion and how to use that discretion to add value.” With this foundation, there is a better chance you’ll have a big-picture view of management and be able to communicate more effectively and potentially influence change within your organization.
- Bridge Generations of Thinking. External demands on organizations have evolved and so have the approaches for securing and administering internal resources. Being able to bridge the generations of thinking, whether based on older models of leadership and management or current thought, is crucial. Oftentimes the goals are the same but the language stands in the way. Conversation with others about how they approach analyzing a situation and identifying alternatives is a crucial bridge to developing a common language.
- Think like MacGyver. The building blocks for adding value have been relatively enduring. Leadership training helps reinforce your gut level instincts about how to use what you have and apply it to the situation at hand. With leadership and management training, you’ll feel more confident to go back to your organization and make use of what you know. “You’ll get better at identifying root issues and how your role can, or cannot, make a different in addressing your stakeholders’ needs,” said DeWitt. Focus on using what you have, sometimes in very different ways.
- Build a Culture that Encourages Training and Education. Too often companies miss the opportunity to promote from within and lose out on great employees. By providing mentorship within the company, employees can continue to see opportunities for growth and professional development. Groom rising stars and help them become your next generation of leaders. “When a company sends two or more people at a time who reflect a cross section of an organization, that can be really effective, employees from different teams have the opportunity to build a better appreciation of each other’s role in their organization and the value of their skills to achievement of the organization’s objectives.”
DeWitt suggests that whatever type of training you embark upon to start with a positive attitude and to be open to the skill building and networking opportunities that a seminar or workshop may provide.