6 Steps to Becoming a Highly Effective Leader: Your Personal “SWOT” Analysis


August kicked off a new venture for me, working towards obtaining a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from Western Governors University (@WGU). A fully competency-based program, the MSML program at WGU has already pushed me to look deep into myself to understand who I am and who I want to be. One of my favorite lessons thus far has been a “SWOT” analysis of myself, as a leader. A SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much about this assignment when I first read it. But, it was an important step in my development into a strong, successful leader. It is framing my next steps into becoming the kind of leader I want to be and that my team members need. I now know where I excel, where I need work, and concrete goals to achieve.
Here are the six steps I took.
Step 1: Take the Seven Habits Profile
Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, provides an outline of things we should all strive for to be the best leader we can be:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin With the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

Step 2: Reflect On Your Habits
What do the results mean about your leadership style? Do they align with your expectations of yourself? If not, why?
Steps 3 & 4: Strengths & Weaknesses
Review your top and bottom 3 scores and develop an understanding about what each of those habits are in your work-life and identify examples. What does being proactive mean to you? How are you or aren’t you demonstrating Seeking First to Understand? Be specific in your examples to grasp each concept completely.
Step 5: Recommendations
Now you know where you need improvement, what are you going to do about it? Recommend three specific actions, behaviors, or practices that would help YOU maximize your success in being a leader in the future. Really think about what performance gap these recommendations will address and indicate the expected outcome of putting the recommendation into action.
Step 6: SMART Goals
Start by identifying two skills, behaviors, or practices you would like to master in the next month or so. Then apply the SMART criteria:

  • Specific: Goals should be precise. For example, I will run four days a week.
  • Measurable: A measurement needs to be included to assess the extent to which the goal is accomplished. For example, I will run for 30 minutes at a time four days a week.
  • Attainable: Goals should be realistic, challenging, and attainable.
  • Results-Oriented: Goals should focus on the end-result. They should start with To following by verbs – complete, acquire, increase, decrease, etc.
  • Time-bound: Goals specify target dates for completion.

Remember to reflect on why you are setting each goal, how the goal is linked to your leadership development, and what you hope to accomplish as a result of achieving the goals. Be purposeful, honest with yourself, and dedicated to change.
I am well on my way to achieving one of my SMART goals of obtaining my Masters. What are your SMART Goals? How will you work to become a better, more effective leader? Share on social media with #SmartLeader.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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1 Comment

Fertil Marie Anaise, Haiti

the course is very interesting and excited.

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