I have posted several articles on suggestions on how you can develop your leadership skills. Hopefully you found this information helpful with a suggestion or two that you can use in developing your skills. Now it is up to you to decide what to do next.
Integrity as defined by dictionary.com is the adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; and honesty. I would guess that most people believe they have integrity, as they are honest and ethical people. Lets dig a little deeper into personal integrity and ask a few questions that are important for leaders.
• If I tell someone I will take care of something, do I complete it as promised or does the person need to follow-up with me?
• Do my actions speak louder than my words? Do I live the lifestyle I claim to live?
• Do I gossip and spread rumors?
• Do people feel they can approach me when there is a problem or question?
• Do I have a temper where people do not find me approachable?
There are more questions that could be asked but we have to determine if people trust us and seek us out.
I believe strongly that actions speak louder than words. As an example, we all know it is important to have a good working relationship with the developers and the business people. Do not be a tester who talks about the importance of relationship building – instead lead in that aspect. When there are problems or more information is needed on the business requirement, reach out to the appropriate people and lead those efforts from a testing aspect. Build a reputation in the various functional areas allowing you to tap into those relationships. Just as important encourage these people to seek you out with problems and questions.
Your Personal Integrity Action Plan
What areas do you need to address? How visible are you in key functional areas? Do people seek you out? Why do people seek you out? Why do they not? Starting today what changes can be made to start building more meaningful relationships?
Do you have an area of expertise whether it is product knowledge, data processing, or a particular testing approach (i.e., load testing)? How can you take a leadership role in leading lunch and learn sessions, round table discussions or other forms of training and discussions? This could lead to inviting other testers to present their expertise with you overseeing and leading the process.
Your Expertise Action Plan
What are your areas of expertise? How can a leadership role be developed in that area? What expertise would you like to develop? What are the company needs that might be a good fit? Based upon this assessment, what is your plan to achieve these goals?
Facilitating journal clubs is a great way to show leadership skills because they can demonstrate organization, communication, time management, and conflict resolution skills. If your company does not have a journal club determine if you can start one whether it is during work hours or afterwards. Refer to my posting for more information on journal clubs.
Your Journal Club Action Plan
Do you think you would enjoy leading a journal club? If yes, be sure to research strategies on facilitating a journal club to ensure it is a beneficial experience to those attending. What are your first steps to move this initiative forward?
What Will You Do?
Throughout this series, I have provided different learning materials and suggestions for developing your leadership skills. Many of these suggestions may not seem like large initiatives and all of them may not be applicable. Plus there are other avenues not discussed in this series. Regardless of your approach, it takes time, practice, and receiving feedback from the right people. Building your leadership skills is similar to building your testing skills. Start small and work your way to larger initiatives.
What are your leadership opportunities and what is your plan to progress your skills and abilities?
Below are links to previous leadership postings that you might find helpful.
Developing Your Leadership Potential
Leadership Books, Seminars, and Workshops
Books I Read: The CEO and the Monk
Books I Read: Gung Ho!
Developing Your Leadership Skills through a Journal Club
A few more books to develop your leadership skills