Improving Your Leadership Skills

Improving Your Leadership Skills
April 27, 2015 The Fold
Leadership Development Tips

In her role as International Leadership Development Consultant at Korn Ferry, Fold Woman Desi Kimmins works with organisations equipping and developing their leadership teams. We asked Desi to share her tips for achieving success within the workplace:

I find that work and home life increasingly overlap and I apply my guiding principles to both:

  • Manage your energy more than your time –support your body and mind in enabling you to take on your life
  • Live your life by design and not by default
  • It’s not the stimulus, it’s the response

I feel extremely fortunate that a large part of my work is centred around a passion which is to support leaders in defining their key drivers and success criteria, in their own particular context.  Spending so much time advising others on this helps keep me on track!

My role also encompasses leadership development. I would offer the following advice to those offering teams in their careers:

Most people get promoted into leadership roles as a result of being technically excellent at their jobs.   As you move up the career ladder the skill-set required to be successful shifts.  Relationship building and influencing skills become exponentially more important as people rise through the ranks.  This shift in skillset is where most individuals trip and often, without the right support, will continue to trip – costing them and the organisation important energy.

My advice is: be aware that what made you successful in the past will not ensure success in future. Ask for support to help maximise your potential and impact.

For women in leadership roles, I look predominantly at three areas:

  • Perception: How are you perceived? How do you want to be perceived?
  • Power: How well do you influence and navigate your organisation?
  • Professional presence: How do you ‘show up’?

Women in business tend to face additional ‘headwinds’ that make navigating the relationship and political landscape even more complex, for example: 

Lack of advocates & sponsors

  • Negative stereotypes
  • Longer proving periods
  • Conflicting gender norms
  •  Family/work balance
  • Low exposure/risk taking

Once you become aware of this reality and define how to be effective in this context, your level of confidence hugely increases and you see great results.

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