People don't stumble into becoming industry leaders that shape policy, practice, and public opinion.
They have to go through a leadership rite of passage to earn the elevated status.
If you want to become an industry leader, there is a four-stage journey you must travel and quests you must complete at each stage of that journey.
“You can only lead others as well as you lead yourself.”
The first stage of your leadership journey is to develop self-leadership capacity. Your quest here is to build the character, competence, and discipline you need to lead yourself well.
While this quest is never completed, your success in the next stage of your journey depends on how well you perform it.
Want to learn how to develop your character, competence, and discipline, access hundreds of video tutorials to help you do just that on the Modesta Mahiga YouTube Channel.
The second stage of your leadership journey is to develop the influence you will need to lead people.
Your quest is to build the emotional intelligence, trustworthiness, mentor-leadership, and organization skills to lead well so that people choose of their own volition, to trust you enough to align with, and submit to, your leadership.
It is almost impossible to become an industry leader if you get stuck at influencing people, because industry-wide leadership requires collaborating with numerous stakeholders, with often competing self-interests.
Your progress at stage two of your leadership journey earns you passage to stage three.
“If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself, and the organization gets pulled up with you.”
The third stage of your leadership journey is to deliver organizational results.
Your quest is to build strategic thinking, stakeholder relationship management, organizational development, systems integration, and management acumen.
This stage is critical to proving your competence as a seasoned practitioner that can grow, scale, and sustain organizational results. This is because no matter how good you are or how well you work with people, there is only so much that individuals can do without systems and structures inherent in an ecosystem.
The three leadership development stages you have seen thus far, together prepare you to take on and successfully complete the quest in the final stage of your leadership journey.
Stage four is the final stage of your rite of passage to industry leadership. Here, your quest is to affect impact by building thought leadership, stakeholder ownership, legacy initiative, and systemic adaptation. Unless your influence is beyond what you, other people in your sphere, and organization can achieve, you will not have industry-wide impact. Beyond proving your experience as a practitioner, to become an industry leader, you must also be able to connect and collaborate public-private-people partnership interests and decision-making towards broader industry policy, regulatory, and sector development agenda.
Becoming an Industry Leader
When you build self-leadership, leading people, and organizational leadership into the attributes required to establish yourself as an industry authority you can affect wide, systemic, and even generational impact.
That is the rite of passage to becoming an industry leader.
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