As most managers will tell you, learning our trade is a life-long experience that never stops.
The learning will come from many different sources, when you care to look.
From the first day we take on the responsibility of management, to the day we finally step back, there are always improvements we can add in.
We will develop our skills in the workplace through the experiences we will have.
We will enjoy learning through training programs we are fortunate enough to undertake – where we take the learnings back to implement in our own way, back in the workplace.
Yet there are many opportunities that can be very creative indeed, often outside the workplace, which are all around us, if only we look.
Here are three examples, which might sound a little wacky, yet are stimulating and intriguing possibilities that can excite a manager’s development, when prepared to take a risk or two in thinking outside that box.
Time to give it a go!
Sometimes just a walk in the park is enough to trigger some thinking that will develop the way you manage.
Have you seen the flight path of a green woodpecker? It’s flap-flap-flap/rest. Effort made till the right speed is achieved and then take a break. Efficient management is more effective with breaks in the energy devoted.
Why do some tree shoots make it when others don’t? What’s the link to your management?
Metaphors from nature, are perfect for giving a totally different perspective to issues that you face and as such are huge assets for the future.
Metaphors are where a descriptor can be applied in a number of situations where they find some sort of relevance.
If you look for them, they are around.
How can the release of 1,000 white balloons be related to what you do? What is the relevance of traffic light sequencing? Why are snowflakes so symmetrical?
Sound weird? Maybe. But then again, if you create one more tool in the box from watching hang-gliders on a thermal-rich afternoon on the scarp side of a hill or how dolphins school together their prey on National Geographic, it’s worth it.
What stories can you apply to the management you offer?
Off The Wall
Whilst there are ideas that are a bit wacky like those mentioned about, there can be much to gain from speculating yourself as you go.
In these cases, it would be easy to deny relevance and move on past. Slow down though – wait. The inkling you felt came for a reason. Where you feel there is a draw for you to linger and be curious, try going with your flow for a while and see just where you are led.
Developing your skills as you progress as a manager is valuable for you. How you go about it will be different for everyone.
We all learn differently, so it’s often good to see things in as many different ways as you can and be brave; take risks, see from the world around you what might work in the team you lead.
Big – and small – ideas may come from well, anything really!
Martin Haworth is an experienced UK-based coach and trainer with TNM Coaching, working worldwide with enlightened organisations who see the light in leadership and management development.