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The Ladder to Success: Identifying the Next Step in Your Leadership Development

As leaders, we understand that leadership is a skill that needs to be continually developed.

Being appointed to a position of authority is just the beginning of a growth journey.

In fact, 83% of businesses say it is important to develop leaders at all aspects and levels.

However, less than 5% of companies actually walk the talk.

A common blindspot among leaders is being caught up with putting out campfires and lacking a sense of direction.

How do we proceed with leadership development if we don’t know which way to go?

The 5 phases of leadership

My years of working with leaders, developing my own self-leadership, and doing extensive research have led me to share with you the 5 phases of leadership:

Phase 1 - Authority

This is the lowest phase. Leaders in this phase rely heavily on rules and regulations to make people do things in the organisation. People follow the leader only because they have to, due to the leader’s position of authority over them.

Phase 2 - Affinity

This is where a leader first starts moving and growing. Instead of just obeying orders, people follow the leader because they want to and they feel a connection or affinity with the leader.

Phase 3 - Achievement

When a leader shows that they can achieve results for the organisation, they start to prove their value. It distinguishes them from someone who just happens to occupy a leadership role. At this phase, people admire, respect, and follow the leader because they can “walk the talk”, not just “talk the talk”.

Phase 4 - Advancement

The best organisations are created with the help of leaders in the advancement phase. From achievers, they have transitioned to being advancers and developers of people.

This nurturing phase is about developing the potential in people from a long-term perspective. It is about noticing people's potential and strengths.

Phase 5 - Aspiration

Leaders in this phase are icons of leadership success. People follow because of who the leader is and what they represent, and people aspire to the same values and ideals.

Examples of leaders who have reached this phase are The Wright brothers, Apple, Martin Luther King, Disney, JFK - all inspiring leaders that think, act, and communicate alike.

The key questions to discovering where you are on the leadership development ladder

Leadership is all about growth. To lead well, you must commit to ongoing learning and improvement. You must always know where you are going.

These key questions will guide you in your leadership journey and help you transition from one phase to another until you reach Phase 5, Aspiration.

1. What do you notice about your current leadership status?

Is there anything that holds you back? Are you actively investing in your own growth and potential?

2. What do your current organisational relationships look like?

Does your team feel liked, heard, or valued?

3. What kind of leader do you want to become?

What values and beliefs are important to you? What kind of behavior should you have? What habits must be established? What goals, dreams or results do you want to achieve?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the current leadership trainings or programs in your organisation?

Are they promoting the long-term growth of your team? Are they developing the potential and leadership capacity of the people inside your organisation? Or are they only concerned with the short-term achievements and immediate results of the team?

5. What are your personal and organisational values?

Are they strong and aligned with each other?

Leadership is all about growth. To lead well, you must commit to ongoing learning and improvement. You must always know where you are going.

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