How you can upskill as a leader, and why you should

Only 10% of the hoomanz on planet Earth are born with leadership skills. The rest of us (like me) have to learn them. The good news is that they can be learnt, the bad news is that most people come to leadership because they were good technicians, or their boss was away. And just ended up in a leadership role. 

A role that that is the second most important role on planet Earth (after parenting). Because it touches lives and one that can transform or terrorise team members. Depending on how it is executed. 

Upskilling as a leader is a hugely important part of a leader’s journey. I remember, as a young leader, not even knowing how much information was out there that I could have tapped in to, to learn the skills and strategies that are required to be the leader that people remember for the right reasons.  

What is upskilling first? This is the process of learning new skills and strategies that you can apply. Then applying them, and testing them, to see what works. Then changing your approach if they don’t work as desired. Pretty simple. It is a deliberate effort to learn how to do something differently, to get a different result. 

Just imagine for a moment, if you were to hire an Accountant or an Engineer or a Builder to build your house. Would you want the person who has kept these skills current, and up to date, or would you want that person who doesn’t see upskilling as an important part of personal and professional development? I know who I want working with me and my team. 

But how do you upskill yourself as a leader? Here are some thoughts! 

1. Be clear on what you want to upskill in 

When you are looking to upskill, be clear on what skills you want to develop or improve. If it is communication that you feel like you work on, find a communication training program. If it is public speaking, find a course or a book or a coach that can help you do that.  

You can even dive deeper and say that it is not just communication, it is dealing with conflict in conversations. It is dealing with angry clients, or it is dealing with aggressive team members.  

It is not until you are clear on the skill that you want to develop or improve that you can find the right resource to help you build those skills. Just think for a moment about leadership training in general. Here is what happens with most trainers (not just leadership) – they get a purchase order to deliver the training, it is not tailored to you and your needs. You get the invitation in your calendar and have no idea what it is about. You turn up for a day or two and try to understand how the content is relevant to you… sound familiar. 

That is a crap-ola approach on the part of the trainer, but from you own perspective, the clearer you are on what you are chasing, the better you are able to articulate those needs, and work with any trainer or coach on how to tailor the material to your needs. 

FYI, we don’t do training like that. We only run bespoke programs, which are tailored to the requirements of the leaders or teams, and work closely with your organisation to get the content right. We haven’t delivered the same content twice. 

2. Be clear on what vehicle works best for you 

Some people are readers (that’s me), some people are listeners (me too), some people like training, some like coaching, some like audio books, some like podcasts. Some like YouTube, TED talks, or Tik Tok.  

In 2023, when knowledge on planet Earth is doubling about every two weeks, there are innumerable ways to consume content. The challenge is to be clear on what works for you, and double down on that, because you know that you learn best that way. 

You might be a visual, auditory, or tactile learner, and which ever one of these styles you are, choose the vehicle that best suits your learning style – because you know you will retain the information. If you are a visual learner, purchase the top 5 books on your topic, and get reading (and highlighting).  

FYI, we have a book coming out in Q2, 2023 that is titled, strangely enough – Upskill your leadership! Please reach out to pre-order a copy of that book. 

3. Be clear on what is working 

This is the big one. 

This is where you go back to the very simple Deming cycle, of plan, do, check, act. Plan what you are going to try. What you are going to continue doing, or to start doing. Make sure you do the thing, then reflect on whether or not that worked in the way you hoped it would.  

If it didn’t, try something different. Until you get the desired outcome for the skill you are trying to develop or perfect. Then, once you have worked on that skill, pick another one and upskill in another area. Rinse and repeat the upskilling cycle.  

FYI, the best way to do this is with a coach, someone who can hold your hand through process, and help you to be clear on what is working and what is not. And to suggest changes or modifications to your strategy. 

In summary, get some clarity around what you want to upskill in, get some clarity around how you want to upskill, and start trying new or upgraded ways of leading other hoomanz! 

Did this post resonate with you? 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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