Leadership doesn’t come as a free lunch, instead it is a progressive process. Are leaders made or born? There is no end to this old age debate, though the context is ever-changing.

Recently, the term experiential is becoming so viral that you can add it next to traditional terms such as learning which is becoming experiential learning, and therapy becoming experiential therapy. Leadership is no exception as the term experiential leadership is on rise.

I like the notion of experiential leadership which is an interesting tactic to developing leadership skills, as long as time permits. Setting your mindset into learning mode relaxes much of the stress and tension which accompanies leadership within tough contexts, and startups are no exception.

Below are the top three pillars of developing leadership.

Mistakes

A true leader knows that mistakes are welcome and a way for constant improvement.

These mistakes might be yours, might be from one of your team members, or even from the various stakeholders, but at the end of the day they merely challenges you have to resolve or handle. Mistakes go hand in hand with decisions. Practicing decision making is a fundamental skill every leader must develop.

Constraints

Constraints are the limiting conditions that sparks innovation and creativity within leaders. Degrees of freedom varies from one context to another. Constraints come in different shapes, they  could be tight time frames, limited budgets, limited human resources, or all of them combined together.

Uncertainty, especially in a startup context, is the ultimate challenge an emerging leader might ever face. Also, change of management might be an example of imposed constraints a leader has to deal with.

Constraints constitute an opportunity to develop and grow different leadership skill set, so develop your tactics to deal with them constructively.

Conscious learning

I am a lifelong learner by nature, and I believe that conscious learning is what every leader should be looking for. A new day without learning something new is a waste.

The scope of any leadership role constitutes an opportunity to learning. Learning from peers in different functions, and learning from various team members as they perform duties is a unique learning experience in its own.

Every stakeholder provides a different angle or window of learning opportunity, so make sure to learn from each and every encounter.

You aren’t on your own when it comes to experiential leadership, as it is becoming top of mind in many leadership development programs around the world and being offered in different settings.



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