Other ways to develop your leadership skills

Many of my recent posts have dealt with the ways that volunteering and board membership can advance and grow your leadership capabilities.  I have been gathering data and over fifty of you have chosen to share your thoughts about how this has worked for you.  Even more, several of you have offered to share personal stories about your own development.  Many of these stories will make it into my upcoming book, “Voluntary Leadership”.

Volunteering is a noble and necessary thing, but there are other ways you can advance and grow your skills outside of your present career.  One of these is to teach or train others in your community or your profession.  I have had the opportunity to do this and I am getting ready to do it again.  We will talk about these experiences today.

I first got engaged in the training/teaching/development world in the early 1990’s while I was working with CEI (Calsonic, Delco/Delphi) in Springfield, TN.

That 6 year engagement was one of the most exciting and rewarding periods of my life because I was exposed to so many situations, starting with the fact that we built the business from scratch.  After a few years I was chosen to start the training and development function to help support the growth of the firm.  This role then inspired me to return to graduate school a second time where I completed a Masters in Education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.  I look back at that two and one-half year period, partly while still with CEI and then completed while I was with the YMCA, as another seminal part of my life.

This transition period from 1992 through 1996 paved the way for the work I currently do.  Working with others, either in skill, attitudinal or knowledge development, has been a core part of my life ever since.

My first period in the classroom at the collegiate level took place in the 2002-2004 period when I served as an adjunct faculty member for Belmont University, a small, Christian university based here in Nashville.

The school has grown markedly since my time there and they have also developed a great reputation in collegiate athletics, especially in basketball and baseball.  While an adjunct at Belmont I taught a Human Resources class for four semesters.  Three of these sections were with degree-seeking adults while the fourth was with traditional undergraduate students.  No offense intended, but my time with the degree-seeking adults was as beneficial for me as it was for them.  It is hard to fathom that anyone is more focused and targeted in accomplishing their goals than an adult who works full time and then goes to school after work to complete their degree.  If I am building a company I want an office full of these people.  They define what it means to sacrifice and focus to accomplished what they are wanting to do.  Some of the undergraduates were of the same cloth, but there were many who reminded me of myself during my days of college in the late 1970’s and after when I completed my first degree in Physics.

This time in the classroom was not taken on because of the financial reward.  The pay was meager, but the compensation far exceeded the dollars and  cents I obtained.  On the contrary, I would say that I gained an abundance of “sense” (sorry for the pun) through this process.

Another opportunity will afford itself this fall as I again serve as an adjunct faculty member.  This time I will be teaching in the Human and Organizational Development program at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

This program is one I am quite familiar with and my oldest son graduated in this program a little over two years ago.  It will be an exciting opportunity for me to not only talk about the core curriculum that we Must cover, but also to offer Context to the students so that they can more fully grasp how this knowledge will assist them in their future endeavors.  A tall order if I do say so.

Classes start in a little less than 4 weeks and there is a lot to do.

No doubt I will be back here again in the coming months sharing with you how this episode of my life, one that is not just about the money, has impacted and formed me in a more complete manner.

What about you?

What are you doing to develop and grow?

Are you taking on new responsibilities?  Are you engaged in a new opportunity?

Try something new; find a way to grow.

I’ll be back with more on this soon.