CCL has been studying leaders and their development for 40 years. Many of our practices have become “tried-and-true” ways to develop leaders and leadership. Here, we highlight ideas, strategies and tactics that we have developed and refined over many years and by working with many thousands of clients.

Mastery, Versatility, Impact

Nothing teaches leadership like experience. But the benefits of that on-the-job learning opportunity are not guaranteed.

To maximize the learning and development potential that lies within work experience, you need a plan. You need to understand what you are gaining from your experience, what is missing and how to fill any gaps.

In the book Return on Experience: Learning Leadership at Work, Jeffrey Yip pulls together key themes of CCL’s leadership development expertise to explain how you can actively learn from experience in order to build, broaden and benefit — that is, to develop your mastery, versatility and impact.

Mastery is about sharpening existing skills, building greater depth of skill or knowledge. To increase leadership mastery, the first step is to identify what needs to be learned or improved. You’ll want to look at this from two perspectives: the needs of the organization and your own needs. Ask yourself: What skills am I building? How can I sharpen my existing skills and ability to lead? Strategies for building mastery include strategic assignments, job rotations and action-learning projects.

Versatility is important, too. Whereas mastery represents a move toward more expertise, versatility represents a move toward breadth of capacity. It is about the expansion of your capacity through learning. Strategies for broadening versatility include working across organizational boundaries of level and hierarchy, horizontal assignments, stakeholder assignments, crossing geographic boundaries, working with people from different demographic groups, seeking cross-cultural experiences and cultivating diverse relationships.

Impact is your ability to apply what you’ve learned. To have value, learning must be transferable. How can you apply what you know to other situations or find ways to share it with others?

Register today for How to Maximize Learning from Experience — a CCL Webinar to be held December 9, 2010, 1-2 p.m. (ET)

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