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PROSERVICE BLOG

Five Ways to Advance Your Leadership Skills in 2019

by Ruth Erickson | February 21, 2019

Better leaders create better teams, which results in greater efficiency, productivity, and confidence. But becoming a more effective leader requires spending time and resources on learning and developing your skills.

We promise you the investment will pay off. In fact, you’ll see higher sales, lower turnover, and higher customer satisfaction. But where should you start and how can you go about advancing your leadership skills in 2019?

Here are our five suggestions for investing in yourself in order to get ahead:


1. Join business organizations and attend conferences 

Providing learning opportunities doesn’t have to be expensive and include a large travel budget. In fact, Hawaii has quite a few exceptional leadership organizations and development conferences that have the advantage of understanding the local business landscape.

Hawaii Business 

Hawaii Business is the longest-running regional business magazine in America. With their website, social media platforms, monthly magazine, and events, Hawaii Business focuses on the big issues affecting Hawaii’s economy and businesses, including jobs, profit and loss, education, housing and much more. Their aim is to provide information that helps local companies succeed and people advance their careers. Among their busy calendar of events are two of Hawaii’s most popular conferences for local business leaders:

Leadership Conference 2019

Deemed the largest professional development conference in Hawaii, this conference aims to build smart, confident and authentic leaders. Gain insight from dozens of Hawaii’s most prominent leaders during a full day of skill-building workshops, speakers, and networking. While this year’s conference date is yet to be announced, it typically takes place during the summer months.

The Wahine Forum

The Wahine Forum is Hawaii’s largest leadership and career development conference for women. Hawaii’s top female executives, entrepreneurs, up-and-coming leaders and others intent on advancing their careers come together for a full-day event featuring national speakers and local leaders. Connect with like-minded individuals and cultivate relationships this Fall.

ProService Growth Series

Hosted by ProService Hawaii three times a year, Growth Series’ are premier free learning events to provide business owners and leaders with actionable and concrete learnings to enable them to build and run a successful business in Hawaii. Events focus on topics related to leadership, hiring and retaining top talent, and managing your workforce. Our February event, “Atomic Habits: Compound Tiny Changes into Remarkable Results” will be led by James Clear, New York Times best-selling author, and will share strategies to transform your habit systems and achieve remarkable results.

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber holds numerous events and seminars throughout the year and across each of the Hawaiian islands that provide valuable networking and marketing opportunities, business training, legislative information and resources, as well as opportunities to discuss issues with government officials and top business leaders.

With over 65 events attended by close to 4,000 business leaders per year, a few ones to note for the upcoming year include “FocusON: Small Biz Marketing Tools,” “Employment Law Seminar,” and “Business on the Green Golf Tournament.” Access each of the Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 event calendars here: Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island.

Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance

The Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance was launched in 2016 to increase the representation of women executives in Hawaii. It is a 10-month cohort program designed for professional women leaders and entrepreneurs who are committed to personal growth, professional impact, and community change. This year’s program is from August 23, 2019 - May 28, 2020, with applications opening on April 1, 2019.

Hawaii Leadership Forum

The Hawaii Leadership Forum is a societal change organization dedicated to advancing leadership in and for Hawaii. The organization strives to improve leadership throughout the state with their cornerstone program, Omidyar Fellows, which is designed to enhance the capabilities of mid-career leaders and change-makers who can mobilize other individuals and organizations to create positive and lasting change. Applications for this year are currently being accepted through April 12, 2019.


2. Leverage the power of feedback

Feedback can be a powerful tool used to fuel growth and learning within teams and organizations. Feedback is a key to learning, growth, innovation, and scale. However, many leaders are challenged with how to give and receive feedback.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor states that 93% of employees feel undervalued. Communicating appreciation in the workplace is particularly important for trusting building, and can impact an employee's ability to hear other forms of feedback, like coaching.

Without appreciation, coaching comes off as complaining and nitpicking. In order for you to come alongside a team member and effectively coach them on a behavior or skill, you must first put in the time to appreciate the work they’ve already done.

Additionally, a formal process is critical for business owners that want to make feedback more effective across their organizations. Whether your company uses annual performance reviews or independent workplace surveys, understanding the results can give visibility into where there might be gaps in employee satisfaction.


3. Improve 1% each day

What are your most important goals in life? What habits fuel those goals? And what would happen if every day, you were able to get 1% better at each of those habits?

Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. This is a core philosophy of James Clear's best-selling book Atomic Habits — you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Learn more about designing the best system for advancing your leadership in this blog post. Tiny changes can equal remarkable results.


4. Utilize external training and development programs

With online courses, video webinars, and leadership talks readily available from our computers and mobile devices, there are so many resources available today to business leaders looking to continue their professional development. A couple notable options include learning boot camps, like One Month, and free educational sessions, like Coursera.

We also offer free webinars, on-demand recordings, and live events covering best practices on human resources management for all types of business owners.

A leader that creates a culture of continuous learning creates a workforce that isn’t satisfied unless they are always pushing themselves and meeting new challenges. And that’s a productive workplace.


5. Grow your skills outside of work

Developing professional skills can also be achieved by growing personally. According to the results of Deloitte’s 2016 Impact Survey, businesses and individuals may be undervaluing the benefits of volunteerism. In fact, 92% of respondents agree that volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills.

Well-rounded leaders can grow through volunteering or serving on a board for a local community organization. In Hawaii, these organizations are always seeking volunteers that want to make an impact: Aloha United Way; Make-A-Wish Hawaii; Surfrider Foundation; Aloha Harvest.

Being a leader is not always the easiest job; leadership is tough. But it’s also something that you can work towards by joining organizations and attending conferences, using effective business management strategies, as well as improving yourself at the office and outside of work.

Good leadership isn’t accidental, it’s something you strive to achieve and pursue with purpose.

Looking to get started? Join us at our first Growth Series event of 2019. We’ll be discussing how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master tiny behaviors which can lead to big change.

Ruth Erickson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

With more than 17 years of experience working across and managing high-performing teams, Ruth’s passion is for leading and motivating members to be change agents. She is currently the Director of Marketing at ProService Hawaii. Before joining ProService, Ruth held various leadership roles at Microsoft in marketing and product organizations.

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