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Fostering Leadership: Kimberly Ross, BluSkye Consulting

Fostering Leadership: Kimberly Ross, BluSkye Consulting

Fostering leadership in any organization is fundamental. Companies who foster a culture of leadership set the tone for a positive, empowering work environment. Leadership must drive this vision and lay the ground work to cultivate a positive result. This starts with attracting like-minded talent and nurturing ‘leaders in the making’.

Some people are born leaders, while others are ‘leaders in the making’. Leaders are those who step up to the challenge. They practice active listening, are open minded, creative and think outside the box. Great leaders communicate effectively, are decisive, and empower those around them. They are honest, loyal and have integrity. Leaders are part of the solution!
Researching what makes a person a good leader has led me to three core competencies – interpersonal skills, time management, and organization.

Interpersonal Skills
The first of these competencies is possessing and practicing good interpersonal skills. Leaders are active listeners, reliable and self-confident. They show empathy, have a positive attitude, and are team players. These leaders have a positive influence on others, often without knowing it. They motivate and inspire others around them. Leaders are creative problem solvers. Most importantly – they communicate effectively!

Time Management
Secondly, a good leader practices time management. This includes focus, self-awareness, goal setting, prioritization and more. Example: Having 30 plus years of sales experience and worked for several Sales Managers, it has been my experience holding team calls or one-on-one meetings at the beginning or end of the day frees up sales personnel to reach more clients during peak hours. Hosting ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions is another great way to communicate with your team, yet not taking them away from precious selling time. This is also leading by example and unconsciously mentoring. By encouraging the sales team to focus on administrative tasks during times when clients are typically not available, you are fostering good time management.

The third core competency is organization. The goal of any company/organization is to ensure work flows smoothly. Implementing deadlines, creating tasks/deliverables and managing milestones establishes a plan for achieving the desired outcome. This includes creating general work tasks for yourself and others. Set a goal for every meeting. If you do not establish a goal, you are wasting your time and that of your team or your client.

Practicing the three core competencies – improving interpersonal, time management, and organization are the foundation for a’ leader in the making’! The principals of leadership are simple when you think about it. They can be applied to any leadership role. Consistency and practice are instrumental in becoming a great leader.

Finding a mentor is key in learning and gaining experience in applying these skills effectively. A mentor can be someone you know or work closely with on a regular basis. It could be a business professional you look up to at work or a coach you have employed through a leadership training program.
Mentoring is based on relationships and communication. This is an exchange of knowledge, advise, and insight. Mentors offer invaluable skills and knowledge like storytelling, candid feedback, tips and tricks on how to handle different scenarios, and more. Often mentoring is a learning experience for both the mentor and mentee.

As a mentor, I found there were areas in my skill set I needed to improve upon as well. Mentoring afforded me the opportunity to learn more about my own leadership style. I gained a wealth of knowledge (including a few lumps) through client facing, sales and customer service management roles in my 30 plus year career. Sharing this knowledge has provided a sense of fulfillment. I hope by sharing, others will benefit from my experiences in a positive way, as well as enable them to tackle the challenging situations.

‘Leaders in the making’ may be self-motivated to take the next steps in improving their soft skills for personal or career reasons. Others are encouraged by peer leaders to continue building their foundational skills. These peer leaders see the potential in others and nurture them, sometimes simply through their actions – much like a mentor. Leadership cannot be taught; however, it can be fostered and developed through experience. The team at BluSkye Consulting recommends the leadership training solution Leadership 9 Box by Square Peg Solutions to all our clients. The program offers an eLearning experience in the core competencies of leadership, as well as mentoring by SME’s.

Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying ‘Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation’. This rings especially true in leadership. Preparation is a trickle-down effect. Companies where leaders share the organizations vision, focus on customer success, and empower employees are building a strong foundation for the future and ensuring success. Organizations employing mentoring programs are ensuring their future by essentially creating what is commonly referred to as succession planning.

As a ‘leader in the making’ or someone who already holds a leadership role, improving your skills and practicing them are the building blocks to success. You hold the key to future opportunities. Foster success for yourself and others. Find a mentor (most great leaders have a mentor), seek a great leadership training program to sharpen your soft skills, and practice those skills regularly – there is always remove for improvement!

Kimberly Ross – Entrepreneur and President, BluSkye Consulting