Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Executive Education

How to incorporate past life experiences when leading the line

As a CEO or senior management figure, you are the person people look to for leadership. This can be in times of trouble or in the good times too. Being a leader is as much about your personal skills and person management as it is about rules or regulations.

At the end of the day, you are just a person yourself with your own talents and experiences to help others perform in your organization.

One great hunting ground to help develop as a CEO or leader is your past life experiences. These may be from your personal life or from previous work experience. It could be something that happened when you were 10 or something that happened last week. Whatever they may be, these life experiences are key in helping you lead the line effectively.

Get the most from your life experience 

If you are wanting to use your previous experience in a relevant way that will enhance your CEO skills, here are some great ideas to help.

Learn from them  

One of the best ways to do this is simply take stock of them and learn any lessons you can for moving forward. This could be remembering a situation that went badly in the past and how you could handle it better next time. It might be something that actually went better than you thought and why that might have been. By doing this, you can keep doing what works and ditch what doesn’t.

Deal with stressful situations

There is no doubt that being a leader is stressful sometimes. Maybe you have to tell someone they are fired, or you have to make a decision that will see a whole branch shut down. In these stressful times it can be handy to call on past experience to help you through it and deal with it in the best manner.

US politician Mark Green shows how this can work in practice. As an ex-special forces soldier, he can use the calmness under pressure his Army training instilled in him when dealing with any stressful or tough political situations. You can use your similar past experiences in this way within your current profession too.

Let them motivate you  

Many, many successful CEO’s didn’t have the best start in life. This actually helped them succeed though as a leader as they used it to motivate them. If you have any kind of experience that drives you to work hard and lead well, use it to spur you on when needed and make yourself the best that you can be.

Use them as an example of how not to lead 

The chances are that, by the time you have become CEO, you will have worked under at least one terrible boss in the past! This is great experience to be a better leader yourself as you know what not to do and what doesn’t work. Think back to what you wanted your old boss to be like and use this to adjust your behavior if you are not quite there.

Draw your unique skills from them  

A big part of successful leadership when CEO is knowing what unique skills you have so you can use them to your advantage. After all, if you are amazing at public speaking then it makes sense to do it as much as you can with staff. First though, you need to work out what unique skills you have as a leader. This is where your past experiences come in – reflecting on these and what situations you feel most comfortable in will help you identify your own.

Let them help you handle different characters 

When leading the line in a business, you will come up against a lot of different personalities. A big part of successful management is being able to handle them all! Your previous life experience is really handy here as you can think back to how you handled people with similar characters in the best way and use the same methods again.

Leadership is something to be developed

 Although there are some born leaders, for most senior managers it is something that needs to be developed over time. Using your previous life experience is worthwhile here as it helps you to find a way ahead when times are tough, or you are unsure what to do. By calling on what you have in your locker, you can find the answer to become a better leader and get staff right behind you.

Megan Batchelor
Executive features editor at The CEOWORLD magazine and lover of reality TV. I eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.