Leadership is all about the other person; it is about adapting your own behavior and communications styles to meet the needs of the people you are leading. However, in order to be able to adapt your own behavior, you first need to learn about yourself. Discovering your natural leadership styles, communication and delegation preferences, views about conflict, and your strengths and weaknesses will improve your leadership abilities. This learning requires a deep-dive analysis through one (or preferably all) of these methods:
- Feedback from others
Personally I have always been drawn to constructive feedback so I can discover areas for growth. It’s not always pleasant to hear, but we all have blind spots, and feedback is a crucial first step in personal and professional development. In the last few years I have added another layer of self-discovery: self-assessments. In my experience, self-assessments give you 1) a sense that you are not alone; that your thoughts, behaviors, the ways in which you process information are not different than everyone else but that there are people who behave, think, and process in similar ways, 2) a deeper sense of understanding where your behavior or communication preferences come from, and 3) a practical understanding of people who act differently than you and how to approach them more effectively. In other words, self-assessments are a way to acknowledge one’s own behavior and that of others. So much of leadership is about acknowledging other people through adapting your own behavior.
When I got hired to create a Leadership Institute for ASCP members, I used self-assessments as the cornerstone of our curriculum. I want our members to have access to the same level of awareness and development that I have enjoyed throughout the years. Learning about your motivators and blind sides is crucial before you can truly turn leadership into WEadership.
-Lotte Mulder earned her Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013, where she focused on Leadership and Group Development. At ASCP, Lotte designs and facilitates the ASCP Leadership Institute, an online leadership certificate program. She has also built ASCP’s first patient ambassador program, called Patient Champions, which leverages patient stories as they relate to the value of the lab.