Career Column
Three Practical Tips for Leadership Development
Rohan Chittella
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.


trong and effective leadership is essential to any business that is looking to thrive in the marketplace. However, strong and effective leadership is often lacking. Management teams that send talented employees to leadership development workshops may ultimately see no improvement in their ability. While workshops are good and have their place, they cannot replace the daily activities of leadership that contribute to an organization’s success. Like a muscle, leadership must be constantly exercised to yield benefits.

Three facets of leadership that benefit from daily practice include consistency, listening ability, and energy management. Here are three practical tips you can implement to improve those facets of leadership.

1. Great leaders are consistent. Identify one behavior where you would like to be more consistent and set a goal that you can easily achieve. Examples of these include deciding to cook all your meals for three days, working out every other day for one week, or going to bed by 10pm every night. I’ve been working on consistency by cooking all my lunches and bringing them to work. These lunches consist of a large portion of vegetables and varying sources of protein. Regardless of the actual food I eat, I constantly get bombarded with comments from coworkers about how healthy I am. The positive feedback loop helps me to stay consistent with my small goal and reaffirms to me that what I’m doing is the right choice. Although it would be easier to buy something from the cafeteria, my commitment to this endeavor has helped inspire some of my coworkers to do the same. When you are able to demonstrate consistency, even through the smallest of gestures, it reaffirms to those around you that you are a leader who is persistent, consistent, and can be relied on.
2. Great leaders have mastered the art of listening. To improve this skill, carefully monitor the interactions you have with everyone in your life for one day to see how much you speak compared to how much you listen. From there, make a conscious effort to have one conversation per day where your focus is on listening intently and purposefully to what the other person has to say. I put this into practice when I speak with my parents. I’ve found that most of the time they are the ones who ask all the questions and listen to my responses but as I’ve become aware of that fact, I’ve been able to turn it around. By diving into their perspective, and really listening to what is going on in their life, I’ve become a better listener. The beauty of this skill lies in the fact that you can apply it outside of work, and still reap its benefits when you’re back in the work environment. As your listening ability improves, not only does it build trust between leadership and employees, it also promotes a culture of empathy in the workplace.
3. Great leaders manage their energy in their endeavors of passion outside the work environment. This means you need to start making time for the things that make you feel alive. Allocate just 30 to 60 minutes a day to whatever you define as a passion and fully submerse yourself in that time. For me, this comes in the form of playing beach volleyball. I compete in tournaments every weekend and that competitive spirit keeps me going when other parts of life get tough. By making time for these activities, you open yourself up to think creatively and recharge your soul. As a leader, this is vital because your employees feed off your energy. If you neglect your personal fulfillment, you will start to bottle up negative energy within you and unknowingly infect everyone around you. This negative energy can manifest itself in the form of a shorter temper, more cynical outlook, or a generally sullen demeanor. In order to avoid this, invest time into making sure your energy is a positive one.

Daily improvements in the domains of consistency, listening ability, and energy management will certainly improve leadership abilities over the long run. There is no quick fix to become a good leader but by implementing these behaviors early on in your career, you’ll be sure to maximize your potential.