Your New Job Title
Updated: Jan 9, 2021
I don't even want to type the word. But I guess I have to. COVID. There, I said it. Ugh. I feel so dirty.
Does anyone have an opinion on the state of affairs in the world? Never mind.
The pandemic is impacting everyone. Everyone's life has changed. Well, at least all human life has changed. The squirrels running around my yard seem oblivious, and it's annoying. We all seem to be adapting and getting used to the new normal.
Not all the changes are negative. I'm a tad on the germaphobe side of the spectrum, so I welcome many of these changes. I feel like overnight the world finally wised up and said, "You know what Adam? You're right! Doorknobs and keypads are disgusting and need regular cleaning." Thank you, COVID. I owe you one.
There are a lot of smart people talking about our current situation. I'm a Clemson grad and a former CPA, therefore you don't need my expert opinion. However, I do have one observation about this new normal that I want to share. I'll stay in my lane. I promise.
My observation: you have a new job title. You are now your own Director of Leadership Development.
When it comes to your development as a leader, the ball is pretty much in your court. It won't be this way forever. But for now, development is mostly up to you.
You have two options. One, you can wait for this pandemic to end and hope someone gets back to developing you, or two, you can embrace your new role. I suggest option two.
This aspect of our new normal isn't new. It happens every time the economy takes an adverse turn. Organizations brace for impact. Belts tighten. Non-essential costs get eliminated. Training budgets get trimmed.
When a storm hits, it puts things in perspective for a moment. Survival instincts are powerful in us humans.
During this season, you can't solely look to your boss or organization to develop you. In light of that, here are three simple ideas to help you embrace your new job title. Don't worry; these aren't difficult.
1. Read. Books are the cheapest coaching sessions you can buy. Ask two or three leaders which books they love. Buy what they say. Read ten pages every night, and you'll average at least one book read a month. Yes, audiobooks count.
2. Ask questions. Leaders love to talk about themselves and their journey. I'm a sucker for people who ask, "Hey Adam, can I buy you coffee and ask you some questions?" I almost always say yes. Who wouldn't, right? Use this to your advantage.
Here's a simple plan. One, email a few leaders you respect. Two, ask them for 30-minutes of their time. Three, write out five or six questions you want to ask them. Four, schedule a call. Five, ask your questions. Six, don't talk. Just listen, and write down everything they say. Seven, write them a thank you note. Eight, schedule your next meeting. Nine, sleep well because you're winning the day.
3. Hire a coach. Even before the pandemic, I would have recommended this. I believe everyone benefits from being the focus of someone's attention for an extended time. Said another way, you grow when someone asks you questions about your life, listens, and helps you connect the dots. These investments always pay off. I see a marked difference in those who seek out a coach and those who do not.
Those are three simple things you can do right now to embrace your new title. You are your own Director of Leadership Development. The good news is it's never been easier and cheaper to develop. Books are on sale; leaders have a tad more time; coaches might be willing to offer discounts.
You can't just sit there and hope you're going to improve. While others zig, you need to zag. Now is a great time to invest in your development.
Time isn't standing still. Those who sit around and "wait" for something to change will lose. The sun keeps rising. The days keep going by. Wake up, embrace your new role, reject the idea that you're a victim, and start moving forward. You can do this!
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@brandomakesbranding