Project Management Q&A: How Do I Develop My Leadership Skills?

I’d like to focus on my self-development this year, especially on the leadership side. Where would you recommend I start?

With the leadership side of the Talent Triangle it’s all these behavioural skills like influencing, negotiation, team building and so on. There are specific training courses for all these aspects however I would urge you to spend some time first in self-reflection and looking at the competency framework assessment to help you identify where you may have some gaps in your existing skills.

There are a lot of skills you could develop so it makes sense to also consider where you are right now in your career and what you want to improve right now – and think about where you would like to head in the future and what skills will be needed there.

There’s More Than Just Training Courses

Many project practitioners opt for short bursts of knowledge from books, seminars, webinars and TED talks seem to be a firm favourite. The trick is to develop new thinking and have the confidence to put it into practice. With behavioural skills you’re aiming to develop new good habits and that takes practice. It also takes confidence to keep putting it into practice.

When you want to try new approaches, the mindset should be, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again’ by learning from what goes well and changing what didn’t go so well. Developing new habits takes time (on average 66 days according to research from Lally et al, 2009) so stick with it and you will start to see the results you’re looking for.

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