There are numerous components to leadership, and many of them are written about frequently. A lot of these traits would be on my list. What’s missing from the list, however, is practical advice on how to improve in those highlighted leadership areas.
Being a great leader, and living into all the qualities that make a leader, takes doing your homework. The cool thing about this is that homework can be fun and even nourishing!
In the group I’m currently working with at the Wright Foundation for Human Potential, each of us has a leadership assignment to further our growth. I thought I would share these with you so that you can get a sense of how the “assignment way of living” can further your own growth as a leader.
This one sounds best for people whose names begin with the letter “A” (e.g., Alpha Annie). But it works regardless of the first letter of your name! The Alpha assignment will be good for you if you are someone, perhaps a project manager, who wants to be an outstanding planner—and be so good at planning that others follow your example. It includes planning for breakdowns and having contingency plans in place. And taking charge like an Alpha!
2. Gone Viral
This assignment, to create viral enthusiasm, will help you if you want to increase your ability to energize a group, mobilizing them toward goals and a mission. You will start giving more recognition to others, thus garnering their support and investment.
3. Both Sides of the Telescope
This assignment requires looking at yourself inquisitively and as accurately as possible, at the same time as you look at others. This action creates mutuality and also a clear picture of your own skill gaps and the skill gaps of others so that steps can be taken to fill them. Then of course, you take those steps.
4. Happy Customers
In service of creating happy customers, this assignment is designed to help you anticipate, elicit, and respond effectively to objections so the people you’re serving are satisfied, and so are you! When you do this, you become more capable of keeping customers happy when inevitable objections arise.
5. In-the-Moment Visions
My personal assignment during a recent project was to state visions for myself and others. It’s a great assignment for someone whose job it is to set agendas and guide people. One trick here is to have a clear vision for yourself that you share with your team. Personally, I had known it was important to set visions for projects and to create visions for other people. But I discovered that when I share my own vision for myself with others, they often want to support me in making that vision a reality.
6. O.V. (Points of View) on the Scene
This assignment is helpful for increasing your influence. By presenting your own point of view, your can persuade others to shift their thinking and action—even in difficult and pressure-filled situations.
7. Good & Done
Complete daily tasks and deliverables on time and on budget, 100% of the time! The vision here is to meet goals and deadlines consistently, and anticipate when a goal will not be met so you can apply alternative plans to meet the goal.
8. Scan & Report (In & Out)
In this assignment you work on scanning for problems as well as synergies to determine what is wanted and needed. Done well, this assignment will make you the person the team turns to as an antenna to get a read on the pulse of the team.
9. Busy Honey Bee
The honey bee assignment encourages you to be thorough and do your due diligence by dipping your feelers into multiple aspects of a project. You will be on top of details and set standards for others to follow.
10. Losada Colada
Someone with this assignment becomes more inspiring by saying at least 3 positive things for each negative thing they say. People start to like them more and want to please them more.
This is by no means a complete list of leadership assignments. The possibilities are truly endless and I encourage you to have fun with creating assignments and assignment names that will move you toward your leadership goals.