Blogging: A Tool for Leadership Development

Blogging Leadership Development

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe” ~ Gustave Flaubert

I’ve been ‘blogging’ about leadership development for a while now (OK – nearly five months), and I have been reflecting on what I’ve learned in that time.

Blogging Leadership Development

Probably the most significant lesson – and possibly the biggest surprise – is how much my own leadership practice has developed as a consequence of writing about leadership – regardless of whether I’m writing about my own experience or ‘in the abstract’.

So I thought I’d share my reflections with you – and who knows – this might be the trigger you need to start that Blog you’ve been pondering on for a while!

Three ways blogging supports leadership development

Space for reflection

Blogging Leadership DevelopmentLeadership roles – especially the role of Chief Executive – can be very lonely. A whole day can go by without any opportunity for you to speak to another person about the particular challenges and pressures you are experiencing.

I find that the very process of reflecting on my recent experiences, and looking for ways to extract transferable lessons from them, enables me to gain some emotional distance and perspective.

Structuring these thoughts, emotions, and ideas into digestible, (hopefully) entertaining and informative posts forces me to reposition and reconsider what actually happened. It forces me to think about what I can learn from my experiences, and it also aids my own learning by making the experiences ‘stickier’ as memories, and therefore more likely to be retained for future use.

In one sense, its a form of journalling – I could simply not publish them, but use the same process to extract value for my own development.

I have also found that knowing that I need to write great content on a regular basis means I’m more attentive and mindful all the time – trying to make sure I don’t miss a great moment!  This has had knock-on benefits for my leadership practice – and probably the rest of my life as well.

Problem solving

There have been a few times when something isn’t going well at work, and the very act of writing about similar issues (or even completely different ones) has created a breakthrough moment for me.

I think this is because the nature of a blog post is that it starts by defining the problem clearly, then summarising information, research and insights from others, and finally verbalising what it all means and how to put it into practise.  In essence this is text-book problem solving, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

Creating Blogging Leadership Development

Interestingly, though, I’m finding its working in the opposite direction as well.  I have an issue at work that I’m trying to figure out, and I can start thinking about how I would write about it on my blog, and voila! The act of thinking about how I’d describe it for someone else creates the breakthrough in real-time.

The other added benefit of blogging about leadership is that feedback from my readers and community also provides incredibly valuable insights and alternative approaches that I wouldn’t have figured out by myself. Bonus!

Building confidence

This one surprised me a little. I already considered myself a fairly confident person! So I spent a bit of time trying to unpick what this might mean.

Confidence Blogging Leadership Development

First, as mentioned above, the act of writing about your experience enables the lessons to be extracted, and increases the likelihood that the information will be retained, and more importantly recalled, for use when you need it.  This is kind of nice to know.

Second, it provides reinforcement of your own experience, especially as you research and read others’ experiences.  We’re all in similar kinds of roles, facing similar sorts of issues and challenges, and tackling them in our unique and manifestly human ways – that’s both humbling and empowering.

Third, and here’s the kicker, nobody wants to read an ‘uncertain’ blog. So even when I’m talking about experiences that are personal to me, and may not translate to everyone (or every situation) I have to write about it persuasively.  And consequently, my confidence grows. Maybe this is a bit like optimism and positivity?

I guess the interesting aspect of this is keeping it in check, and remaining open to new ideas, new insights and new approaches, while being confident in my ability to synthesise that – rather than sticking rigidly to current ideas just because I wrote about it…

(Hmmm… would a guy be worried about this?)

Bonus extra benefit…

I’ve also learned a bunch of skills that will help me personally – and maybe even in my job…

I’ve learned a fair bit about:

  • social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter
  • designing and managing a WordPress website
  • search engine optimisation
  • internet marketing (thanks Gary V!)*
  • building a platform
  • self-publishing
  • writing

So all round, it’s been a pretty great ride so far. Thanks for coming along!


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Leadership Possibilities

I want to help you to lead.  Not from a position of power, but from exactly where you are now.

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