Question: My manager has recommended that I attend leadership training, however, I am happy in my existing job and not sure if I want to move into management. Should I go to the training?
Jo Miller answers:
Years ago, I was preparing to deliver a leadership workshop for thirty women in a large telecommunications company. They had been selected by management, who had identified them as “high potential” and told they were required to go to training. Needless to say, not all were happy to be told they had to take two days out for yet another soft-skills training when they were understaffed and had a mountain of work to get through.
A few days before the class, I was reviewing their answers to a pre-workshop questionnaire. One of the questions I asked them to answer was “Why is being a leader important to you?”. Reading the responses, I felt dispirited because apparently being a leader was not that important to them. They just wanted to make the biggest difference they could at work every day.
What is the definition of Leader?
Then came my ‘Aha’ moment! In their answers, they had defined what it means to be a leader. Being a leader does not mean having a management job title or a team of employees reporting to you, or climbing the ladder to a certain grade level . A leader is someone who is committed to making a difference that is greater than one person could make alone.
Regardless of your job title, do you aspire to make a positive impact? Do you want to make the greatest difference you can? If so, you will surely reach a point in your career where you want to make something happen that is bigger than you are able to accomplish through your own effort. You will need skills like the ability to effectively articulate your idea, and get collaborators on board. You will need to know ways to help everyone stay focused and motivated while they work toward a common goal.
Leadership skills are also life skills
Whether your future career path as an individual contributor, technical leader or people leader, will there be times when you need to work with others to complete something that not one of the players could accomplish through solo effort? If so, I encourage you to take the class.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I reflect on how our world will benefit from having more strong women leaders in industry, government and community organizations. Even if you never use the skills professionally, you will have many opportunities in your life outside work to make a difference by collaborating with others. Leadership skills are essential life skills for anyone who hopes to make a positive impact in their work, family, community, or any area of life.
As CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc., Jo Miller helps women create their roadmap into leadership positions in business, and offers low-cost leadership webinars for executives and emerging leaders.
To read more of her career advice, visit the Ask Jo archives.