I hope that everyone had a terrific end of semester / end of year holiday season. For me, it was a bit more hectic and stressful than usual. I started a new consulting assignment in the middle of December and tried very hard to become acclimated as my new co-workers left on scheduled vacations. Ah, change and transition. While I'm not really truly settled into this new role - yet - it certainly provided the opportunity for me to reflect and plan for the upcoming year.
As many of you know, I spend a fair amount of time reading blogs and articles on topics germane to Engineering Management. "Leadership" seemed to be the buzzword of choice in 2014 for any number of reasons. As I stepped into this new position, I considered the ways that I could bring my own style of leadership to the role.
Fortunately for you, dear readers, one of my favorite bloggers captured my thoughts much more succinctly than I could post.
I started following Terri Klass in 2014, about the same time that I stepped into the ASEM blog. I like her approach to leadership and the clear style of her posts. She's always very kind on Twitter when I retweet her blog URLs, too. Her post on "Five Ways To Spice Up Your Leadership" captured my attention as I took my first steps in this new assignment.
DISCLAIMER: While Terri has my wheels turning, the following suggestions and interpretations are largely my own (any errors or missed marks are mine alone, too).
In following the topics within Terri's post:
"GET TO KNOW A NEW COLLEAGUE OR CO-WORKER"
That is pretty much all that I've been doing for the past three weeks, and I continue to do so. Fortunately, there are two people on my current project that I've met in past projects (the IT market in the Twin Cities can be rather small at times), so not every face is a new one. Along with new co-workers, I've had to learn new processes and meet the people in charge with those as well. I've been reminding myself that this IS the only "first impression" that I get to make, so I need to be sharp, friendly and a good listener / note taker. In time, I will follow Terri's advice and create deeper connections with some of these talented professionals.
"SIGN-UP FOR A NEW COURSE OR WEBINAR"
I'm excited to learn more about what ASEM is presenting in the months ahead. The Communications Committee has a tall goal of providing monthly webinars to the members and I know that there are a number of great topics on the schedule for 2015. Effective leadership doesn't happen all at one time, as you know. You need to keep evolving, learning and growing. The successful people on your team are dynamic individuals, so it falls to you to be just as energetic in your ideas!
"JOIN A NEW COMMUNITY"
Insert shameless plug for ASEM participation here. Seriously, Terri is correct in telling her readers that "[T]he knowledge you can gain and the leaders you can meet is beyond measure." You've paid your dues, you already support the organization; why not get involved?! For example, the 2015 IAC will be here before you know it, and the conference planning committee is actively seeking corporate sponsors. Maybe this is the year you and your company step forward to support the advancement of Engineering Management principles on a global scale?
"ASK FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF PROJECT"
For me, this is key to "Keeping the Saw Sharp" (my favorite 'Habit' from Stephen Covey's bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). As a consultant, it's absolutely critical to improve yourself and find ways add value to your key areas (work, family, whatever you decide). It's the same for any leader; cross-training makes everyone on your team more effective and valuable, and it also provides you with an important learning opportunity. I've found that most people like to share their work, particularly if they've found a way to make it more effective or meaningful. Why not learn more and develop a deeper appreciation for the people around you?
"FIND A MENTOR"
I cannot stress this enough. It's my opinion that you get the best advice from two kinds of people: The people that have done what you are trying to do, and the people that are doing what you are trying to do. This is where mentors come in. A great goal for 2015 is for find a mentor (or a few) and really spend the time to learn and grow from their experience. Leaders surround themselves with people that provide guidance, ideas and feedback. This can be the year where you invest in yourself and take charge of your path to success.
Do you see any areas where you can spice up your leadership? Share your ideas here or through any of our social media channels and continue the conversation!