There is no easy answer to the question, “How do I become a great leader?” Just visit your local bookstore or library and take a look at all the books written on the subject. Don’t even try Googling “leadership.” Even doing a search for “leadership groups” on LinkedIn gives you 27,430 results.
On one such LinkedIn group this week, someone posted a question asking if there were courses or leadership certification programs available. I replied that there are lots of them out there — the more important questions are which ones are good and which ones will meet my specific leadership needs. I didn’t give specific examples in that reply.
There is, however, one leadership program that resonated with me when I first ran across it. In 2010 I returned to school to the Master of Arts in Leadership program at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. As I have written previously, I had been asked to help the organization I was with at the time to explain or describe my success as a leader. I had no idea. I just did what I did. This was my motivation to dive into the learning and it was there that I was introduced to The Leadership Challenge (TLC), a leadership program by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. As soon as I started to learn about this model I was struck with the realization that this was exactly what I had been doing. The five practices, along with the six behaviours for each practice, clearly described my own leadership style and behaviours. I’m not going to explain or describe the model here, but if you are interested I suggest you visit the TLC website at: http://www.leadershipchallenge.com/home.aspx. I also recommend you take a very close look at the assessment for leadership development that Kouzes and Posner designed called the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI).
This is not the only leadership program out there, and again I am not saying it’s the best one, because only you can decide on the program that best meets your individual needs. I can only say that for me personally, this model resonated and I connected with it, so much so that I have since become certified in the model as a facilitator and will be attending their annual conference – The Leadership Challenge Forum – in San Francisco next week.
As for LinkedIn or Facebook groups, find one that speaks to you and fits your own personal vision of leadership. Explore some of the sites, connect with some of the people on them. If one doesn’t fit, drop it and move on to another until you find one that does.