Dear Mom,

Mother’s Day has come and gone. My mom passed away in January of this year, making this Mother’s Day the first one I’ve experienced without her in the physical world. It brought some new feelings to my heart. These last several months have brought about all sorts of changes to my inner world, most of which I just don’t talk about that openly.

This post is going to be very unique, completely unlike my typical writing here at The Leader’s Journey Blog. It’s an open letter to my mom, which gives me a chance to express some deep feelings. The post is as personal as anything I’ve ever published. Hopefully, it will allow anyone else who is living through the recent death of a parent to connect, relate to and feel comforted by the fact that they aren’t completely alone in their process of grieving.

Personal and professional development drives leadership capacity

My Personal and Professional Development Strategies

Personal and professional development: the final leg of our five-part core leadership skills journey. The other fundamental components of leadership – self-awareness, developing relationships, and effective communication, have paved the way for this last critical piece of the puzzle.

When done consistently, personal and professional development efforts boost the other three leadership skills, and help you become your most productive and effective self in the process.

I’m lightening up this final article in sharing what I do in my own life to continuously grow myself – hopefully you’ll find an idea or two that you take into your own life!

Effective Communication: Leadership in Action

Effective Communication: Leadership in Action

Let’s be real here: communication is often a make-or-break skill for an aspiring leader.

The first two segments of this series on core leadership skills explored two critical starting points for a growing leader. We started with self-awareness, which is a very internally-based component of leadership. Then we moved to how to develop relationships with followers/reports (which is often done on a small-but-intense scale). With communication as the focus of this post, the size of the stage that we play on as leaders is takes a major jump!

Through relationships comes leadership

No Relationship? No Leadership!

When we think about leadership, our relationships with others aren’t usually the first thing that jumps to mind.

Instead, the focus might be on creating motivation, pushing a teams to greater heights, or running into a new project with full steam at the head of the pack.

We might also think in terms of personal, self-directed growth. We look at who we are as individuals, what our strengths are, how we can maximize our gifts.

As discussed last week, self-awareness is certainly the first area of focus when it comes to becoming an excellent leader. However, effective leadership works through the relationships we have with others, and that’s the focus of this post.

How Self-Awareness Builds Confidence

How Self-Awareness Builds Confidence

If you go back to our post about what the four core leadership skills are, you’ll notice the big emphasis that was put on self-awareness. What makes self-awareness so important?

One aspect of this importance is that all three of other core skills rely heavily on a person being solidly self-aware. If you don’t know yourself, it’s hard to really know who others are beneath the surface. The other part of the self-awareness equation is this: improving your self-awareness builds the confidence needed to step into your full leadership potential.

What are the "core" leadership skills?

The Four “Core” Leadership Skills (and Why They Matter)

Leadership development is something we talk a lot about here and in the world at large. It’s a topic that’s somewhat ethereal – a lot of people can talk about it at a surface level, but if you were to ask someone directly “what are the core skills required of a good leader?” you would likely end up with a lot of humming and hawing.

If you were to ask this question to 100 different people, you’d likely get (after the humming and hawing) close to a 100 different answers.

Although this post doesn’t won’t go super in-depth on the topic (we’re going to write a series of posts that will do just that, so stay tuned!), here is what we define as the core leadership skills needed to successfully influence others:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Relationship Development
  • Communication
  • Productivity and Personal Growth.
What Being Professional Really Means

What Being “Professional” Really Means

Being called a “professional” is usually taken as a compliment. It’s a strong word for a lot of people, evoking feelings of admiration, respect and trust when it’s directed at someone.

We often look up to people who work in “the professions” – fields such as medicine, law and academia. We give those people fancy name prefixes such as “Dr.” or “Prof.” Their expertise is typically quite valued, and a lot of the time these people carry themselves in very confident, assured ways. They show up in powerful ways, and as a product of this they tend to create meaningful results wherever they go.

Whether you’re a professional by title or not, being professional is something that anyone can achieve, regardless of the field they work in. It’s a desirable characteristic, but what’s really behind this attribute is often misunderstood. Here’s a dive into what professionalism really entails.