360 feedback adds objectivity to your picture of your current self. Collect feedback from your colleagues, team, manager, customers, and anyone else you work with, around what they feel you excel in and what you could work on.
Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to bring it all together. A SWOT matrix, widely used in businesses, can also be useful for your personal development. By displaying your strengths and weaknesses alongside any opportunities and threats in your current environment, you’ll more easily be able to identify actions you can take as part of your self-development.
- Bridging the gap
So, you’ve identified where you are now and where you want to be – but how can you bridge the gap between these and make your leadership vision a reality?
The first step is setting objectives for yourself. We recommend following the SMART framework:
- Specific – well-defined and focused
- Measurable – identify criteria for measuring progress
- Achievable – attainable and acceptable for you
- Relevant – relevant to your ultimate goals
- Timed – set yourself a reachable deadline
Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, actions need to be taken to get there. Ask yourself what training you may require and what support you need – would you benefit from coaching, or from a mentor who has already trod the path you’re on? Take action early on and keep the momentum going long term. There may be some quick wins, but developing yourself as a leader is a continuous process and you mustn’t forget the long game.
- Reflect and review
Setting your development plan and putting it into motion is only the beginning; your environment is constantly changing and so are you, so continuous evaluation is key to ensure your plan doesn’t drift. Review progress against your objectives monthly and tweak your goals and action plan appropriately. Collect feedback regularly. We recommend formally collecting 360 feedback once a year to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses and how they are evolving.
Development is never complete! You’ve set yourself goals, but there is no one end goal, no leadership enlightenment to reach. Each time a goal is achieved, more will open up, so it’s important to regularly review and update your self-development plan.
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