How to Develop Your Executive Leadership Skills

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What is the most valuable quality in the world? You guessed it—it’s leadership. Without leadership, there is little inspiration. And without inspiration, there is inaction, which, as you already know, is the root cause of doom, gloom, failure, and everything else negative we as humans abhor. 

As an executive, the most important skill to learn is how to develop executive leadership skills. Success isn’t always about having the right answer but about having enough confidence and resolve to inspire others to action so that they can become leaders themselves.  

As a successful professional, chances are you have already read countless articles and books about leadership and how to develop executive leadership skills. You have already heard that you must lead by example, give positive reinforcement, focus on peoples’ strengths, and so on. 

Today I’d like to offer you a new perspective on developing your executive leadership skills. In my years of experience as an executive coach, I have found that while much of the leadership advice out there focuses on your interactions with others, much of this well-meaning advice skims over the very foundation required for effective leadership: self-awareness.  

We can analyze the people, places, and things around us for days on end, but until we have a heightened sense of awareness about ourselves, we can never fulfill our true potential as leaders. So what exactly do I mean by “awareness”? Do you know what your own true core values are? What sets you on fire with inspiration? What motivates you to continue achieving higher levels of success? 

When you increase your own levels of awareness about yourself, it’s like a light switch goes on, and you are suddenly aware of what drives others as well. Think about how many business situations you have been in when you’ve spent hours trying to decipher the other person’s motives—what will get them to say yes, and what will get them to take action? What if you could stop guessing and start knowing? While educating yourself about behavioral psychology and applying that knowledge is certainly useful, it will all be in vain until you heighten awareness about yourself. 

This seems fairly straightforward, yet most executives skim over this critical step. Why? The thought of staring in the mirror and becoming keenly aware of what drives us can be scary. The unknown is scary. What will we find? Shady motives? An evil persona we don’t want to acknowledge? However, in actuality, looking in the mirror and digging deeper into ourselves is akin to turning on the lights in a dark room. We are afraid not of what is there but what we imagine could be there. And just as you flip on the light switch and can suddenly see everything in a room, so it goes with your own self-awareness. 

Executive leadership skills are not developed by simply maneuvering your way around others’ behaviors, trying to get them to do what you want them to do by way of force. Rather, these critical skills are developed by increasing your sense of self-awareness so you understand what is driving you and therefore can understand what is driving others. It is only then that you can lead from a place of true power. 

For one-on-one guidance in developing your own executive leadership skills, schedule a free consultation today. We will have a candid conversation about where you are today, where you want to be, and how to get there. 

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Dr. Alex Ledgister is not your typical “Success Coach.” The former Marine who holds a Ph.D.

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