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Executive Leadership Training: 5 tips to tap your career potential

Posted on September 9, 2010 by Leslie Dickson

It happened to me twice in the same day, just last week. Two colleagues, both in their early 50’s, who work for two different companies, were bemoaning the instability in their job situations. Both shared a sadly similar version of the same sentiment: “This job needs to last me at least 8 more years.”

Unfortunately, statistics aren’t on their side. According to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average tenure in a job is 4.1 years. That computes to 7-10 jobs in a career – and probably one more for each of my friends before retirement. My colleagues are first rate professionals, executives with excellent skills and years of valuable experience. Yet, that may not be enough in this economy – or any economy.

The reality is, whether we’re staying with the same employer or moving on to a new one, we should think of ourselves as applying for a job every day of our lives. Each of us needs to be asking ourselves the question that candidates are asked in job interviews every day: “What can you bring to this position?” Not what did you bring yesterday …what can you bring tomorrow?  That’s why ongoing training throughout your career isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Clients often ask me what kind of training choices will help advance their careers. I always urge them to consider leadership training. Here’s why:

  1. Leadership training takes you beyond business knowledge. In a great article in Chief Executive magazine titled Why Some CEOs Fail and Others Succeed, Author Rommin Adl included this quote from the storied former CEO of GE, Jack Welch. “Getting every employee’s mind into the game is a huge part of what the CEO job is all about…There’s nothing more important.” The ability to communicate effectively, to engage people, to skillfully present ideas is as crucial a skill as any. These are the skills participants focus on in VoicePro’s Executive Presence™ workshops. They’re key to helping them leave their mark on others in every interaction and increase their influencing power in an organization.
  2. Leadership: there’s always room to grow. I’ve worked with up-and-comers and veteran executives – even CEO’s. No matter what the innate abilities, no matter where people are in their careers, new leadership skills can be learned and mastered.
  3. Build on strengths or correct weaknesses?  Both, of course. Be honest with yourself. If you know you have a particular deficiency, stop ignoring it. You can learn new skills to change; you just need to decide. And if you’d rate yourself “average or above” in most areas, what’s holding you back from “excellence”?  It’s never too late to surprise others – and yourself!
  4. Get outside your comfort zone. Training is more than a resume builder. It’s a cornerstone of confidence. When you extend yourself, you will learn more than if you just stay with what is comfortable. You will feel more in control, more motivated, and more engaged.
  5. Your company will value your new commitment as much as your new skills. Your willingness to put in time and effort to develop leadership skills will have supervisors looking at you with fresh eyes. Your decision to take on new challenges is as impressive as your results.

So, what are you waiting for? Whether you have 8 years or 38 left in your career, leadership training will help you make the most of it.

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