7 February 2013

Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Leadership Management

For the young and highly ambitious, learning to effectively manage leadership roles is one of the most difficult challenges they’ll ever face.

Indeed, over-commitment to multiple leadership opportunities and a failure to fully grasp the demands of those positions can play a big part in curtailing the development of this vital skill. First and foremost, quality of leadership stems from the ability to understand your own capacities and abilities. Fully understanding the obligations and responsibilities of any leadership role is also key, as is the willingness to commit the time and resources required to fulfill those obligations and responsibilities.

However, many less experienced individuals fall into the trap of leaping before they look, opting to immediately grasp any leadership opportunity that comes their way without first ascertaining what each role will require. Often the case for those who actively seek to head up multiple clubs or societies, the possible negative impact on their reputation as a result of subsequent poor performances is often not considered. Nor is the fact that their leadership development can suffer from the distraction of too many roles. More than likely, an ambitious young individual will attempt to divide their time between five or six commitments rather than concentrating on one or two.

So how might such pitfalls be avoided? Before accepting any leadership role, your first step should involve gaining an independent assessment of your own capacity. This is best achieved by seeking the advice and opinions of others with more experience. For example, how do they view your abilities, strengths and weaknesses? Is your skill set suited to the challenges that a particular leadership role entails? Will this role be good for your development? Completing this due diligence and accepting advice will enable you make an informed choice and plan effectively. And don’t be afraid to turn opportunities down. Remember, there’s only so much you can learn from executing multiple roles poorly.

Author: James Flynn – Fellow of Senate – University of SydneyBusiness School

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