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A Professional Development Program that Stands Out

WRITTEN BY mwaldrop 1 week ago

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Curious about Leadership Discovery? Hear about the program through someone who experienced it

You hear about professional development opportunities all the time. There are great programs in our region that offer ways to grow in your company, overcome barriers and find your fit within an organization.

But few provide you with the opportunity to hear from six powerful leaders that are willing to speak candidly to you and an intimate group of fellow professionals about the good and not so good parts of their journey.

Leadership Discovery checked that box for me.

This three-month program offered everything from personal development, useful tools to remember in the business world and a real understanding that failure is okay as long as you’re willing to push forward to find your success.

The orientation opened my eyes to what my current behaviors are and, specifically, how I respond to conflict, what motivates me, what causes me stress and how I typically solve problems. Jean Meeks-Koch with Positively People moderated the conversation, leading us to not only looking inward but learning how other professional’s behaviors in the class were similar and different than our own. We were split up into groups to discuss our different styles and learned very quickly that each of us were motivated by differing things and identified that a key component to improving work relationships is by understanding the communication needs of our team members. Many people (including me) were shocked to find out how accurate their DiSC assessment was.

This orientation session helped me to learn more about my style compared to other professionals in the room, but also prepared me to recognize the different leadership styles we would experience in each of our sessions from this diverse group of mentors.

The mentors we heard from were:

Everyone had a different path to get to where they are today. They had to overcome tremendous obstacles, personally and professionally, to find their fit and find out what truly matters to them.

If you are like me, you look at these leaders like they’ve got it all together. But more often than not, they have encountered the same challenges my peers and I are experiencing or have experienced. I learned a lot from these leaders (to say the least) but I was able to narrow down some key takeaways that I feel would be helpful for professionals at all stages of their career.

Below are the five key work and life lessons I will always remember from this program:

  1. Leadership is a team sport – always respect the people around you because you are not the expert at everything. You (or someone on your team) hired them to do a specific task and it is important to step aside and trust them as subject-matter experts.
  2. Give your team the resources to succeed – spend time with your peers or employees to help identify what they need to succeed and their future goals. You need to know what they want and how they prefer it before offering praise, growth opportunities and feedback.
  3. Over & Next concept – Leave the past in the past. Identify that whether good or bad, what has happened is done and it is important to look forward to what is next. What is next is something that you can change and make better.
  4. Work-life balance isn’t always 50/50 – depending on the week, day or even hour, this proportion may change. If this is important to you as a business professional, it is crucial to recognize when the lever is tilted more into work and find deliberate ways to dedicate more time the following week to personal time with family, friends and things that are important to you outside of work. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
  5. Embrace growth mindset over fixed mindset – In a growth mindset, one is constantly trying to learn and better themselves. Instead of individuals believing that they are the expert in everything, they will embrace and believe that their knowledge, talents and basic abilities can be increased through hard work and dedicated effort. Striving for a growth mindset will allow an individual to stay humble and achieve more than they could ever imagine.

Believe it or not, these takeaways are just scratching the surface. Our final session was at Poogan’s Porch for a business etiquette dinner with Cindy Grosso, Etiquette Expert and Founder of Charleston School of Protocol. She walked our group through the differences in the continental style way of eating versus American style and left the group with valuable reminders on how to conduct yourself properly in business meetings over a meal.

If this program seems like what you are looking for, then this upcoming session is calling your name. The 2019 Spring mentors for Leadership Discovery are incredible.

2019 Spring Mentors:

  • Colonel Terrence Adams, Commander, 628th Air Base Wing and Joint Base Charleston
  • Greg Bulanow, Chief, City of North Charleston Fire Department
  • Willis Cantey, President & Co-Founder, Cantey Tech Consulting
  • Jeff Tozzi, Vice President, Microsoft
  • Anita Zucker, Chair and CEO, The InterTech Group

Applications are open for this program until February 15 and limited spots are available. Submit your application and be a part of an impactful program that will help you grow in your personal and professional life.

You will not be disappointed.

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