We are who we hang around with … pretty sure someone has said this before.
Of course, we choose who we associate with and our choices make all the difference in the value we receive from those others.
Leadership development, like most fields or careers, includes creating opportunities to share and interact with others who care about the same things we do. When I consider engaging with a leadership group, I always look at three things:
First, Who are the people already part of the group?
Groups that provide value to me include a wide variety of people who practice their art in widely diverse settings and locations. This is one place where the Internet and social networking just shines.
If you are mercenary about all this or simply focused only on your own benefit, you look for where all the stars gather. This is unwise, because most of them do not “gather” anywhere. Look instead for a mix where some people are way ahead of you on the learning curve, others are just starting, and some are standing right next to you. You will learn from all.
What do I know of the vitality of the group?
Check out the publically-available postings and activities of the group. Does one person dominate or give almost all the content? If so, this is a warning sign. Are a wide number of folks, from the groups mentioned above, engaged, sharing, and posting? This is good … this is very good.
Also regard the topics. The more variety you see in the specific topics being shared and discussed, within a broad range that allows for some sharing ona very personal level. When you see personal sharing beyond the academic or purely topic-focused, you probably are seeing evidence of a high level of trust within the group.
Finally, How willing am I to share openly with the group?
Reflection and honesty time … the more willing you are to engage with a group that appears to included a range of folks, has a level of trust, and is dealing with topics that appeal to you, the more value you will receive from being part of the group. It’s just that simple.
Besides, while research indicates that most people in most groups just “lurk” or participate passively, you are not “most people”. You are a leader who wants to become an even better leader. Behave accordingly.
Here is a Strategic Learner – Approved opportunity to engage in this simple evaluative process with a group that should show up pretty good. I have found Lead With Giants and their Fearless Leader Dan Forbes to be so. Click the links below for more information:
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 7 PM ET
Host Dan Forbes and special guest @tshroyer2
The topic: Success and Happiness
Bonus Point: Even if you do not identify as either a formal or informal leader, you well may still find value in the intelligent and thoughtful discussions which exemplify these gatherings. Plus, other than your time, they are free.
Hoping to “pop in” tomorrow evening for some good leadership discussion in the (Frozen) Heartland …