Leadership Development Mad Lib

I’m a people person. And as a human resource leader, I get to spend the majority of my time with people. I love it. Because I’ve observed that my leadership abilities evolve through relationships with others. My style of management is formed from qualities of respect, openness, observation, and good humor. And knowing that I’m not always right. This is a style I bring into my organization.

Organizational development is much like leadership development. You focus on key strengths and attributes. Paying attention to values and point of views. Identifying areas of growth then implementing plans for positive change.

It’s not terribly complicated, but it can be complex. And it takes time. I recently consulted on a leadership retreat for a communications agency. There was one simple fill-in-the-blank statement that was posed to each executive:

The future success of our company depends on ________.

But because we’re dealing with people who each have their own world view, goals and objectives, the answers were anything but simple. There was much conversation. Respectful debate about what success even means. Whiteboards and vats of coffee. But through open dialogue and a genuine desire for a united mission, the organization is on a path to success. With committed leaders.

The same exercise can be applied to personal leadership development. And at times, can be even more compounded since you are pulling from within, and although you may learn from and lean on others, you alone can identify who you are as a leader. So please don’t be your worst critic. And ask yourself:

Success means ________ to me. My future success depends on ________.

And let the responses flow. Think of it as the leadership version of Mad Libs™. Don’t limit yourself and see where your mind takes you. Then start to identify themes and begin to put together a plan of action. Take it step by step and pretty soon you’ll be running.

Also published April 19th, 2013, on the SOS Leadership Blog