This research project investigated the power of leadership self-development in the US Air Force.
As featured in the article “Making Yourself Indispensable” published in the October 2011 issue of Harvard Business Review.
A few days ago, Harvard Business Review published an article titled, Making Yourself Indispensible, by Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman—co-authors of The Inspiring Leader and principals of the leadership development company, Zenger Folkman. After years of extensive research, we at Zenger Folkman have identified 16 core leadership competencies that set highly effective leaders apart from the rest.
Over the next 16 days we will open discussions about each of these competencies and how to develop them.
Leaders who Practice Self-Development, make constructive efforts to change and improve based on feedback from others. We encourage you to share your thoughts, stories or questions about this competency, below in the comments section.
My new start-up, Self-Knowledge College, will try to address this for people who want to succeed in their personal, academic and professional lives. Things like time management, procrastination, goal setting, values, communication and even the definitions of success and failure, (which can’t be measured only in financial terms), are all sub-sets of self-improvement which is an effect of self-knowledge. The underlying philosophy of the program is that authentic, inspirational leadership requires a firm foundation of self knowledge and inner power that can only be acquired through a disciplined process of self development by proper management of one’s thoughts, emotions and behavior. This book is the rekindling of soul, and how through the opening of the eye of wisdom one can see a brilliant future rising like a phoenix from the ashes of waste and corruption of this old world.
A Leader must be responsible for delivering operational excellence and translating strategy into day-to-day execution.
In the 20 years since starting Priority Learning, Ralph has facilitated countless learning experiences and has conducted training for thousands of managers and leaders. Interpersonal skills are those abilities, attitudes, and competencies centered on relationships and interactions with other people. Our Interpersonal Skill Enhancement series is designed to help you enhance specific skills. Current operational assignment policies and formal training were evaluated for their value in developing leadership and preparing rated officers for squadron command. We call these The 16 Differentiating Competencies.  Our research proves that if you possess a strength in even one of The 16 Differentiating Competencies, you’re more likely to be perceived as one of the outstanding leaders in your organization.
We have to understand the relationships between and among these aspects of human behavior if we are to develop to be our best selves.
SDL is a fusion of the best modern management practices with the ancient self management principles of Raja Yoga.
Leadership Development Model offers a solid foundation for you to build and refine your skills as you practice the art of being a leader in today’s changing environment.
Model, Stewart Leadership delivers a complete leadership development system to identify and build leadership capability for results driven leaders at all levels. With over 30 years of leadership development and organizational development background and work, Ralph continues to build relationships with client companies all over the U.S.
Having good interpersonal skills such as collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution allows you to build strong relationships with others. This series focuses on your relationships and interactions with others, and how to work most effectively with others. The research sought to determine the leadership development center of gravity or if the three means of leadership development work together equally.


Possess two or three strengths, and you’re on your way to becoming an extraordinary leader. They continually develop depth and breadth in key competencies and they demonstrate a curiosity for learning. It is built on the assumption that leaders must achieve aligned and positive results – with their people in their business, from both a marketplace (external) and an organizational (internal) perspective. From the experience-proven LEAD NOW! Model, to the award-winning books, through online Self and 360° Assessments, individual coaching programs, and engaging group workshops and speeches, Stewart Leadership provides sustained solutions to the process of leading people, teams, and organizations.
Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as social skills, people skills, or soft skills. We provide strategies and insight that can enhance your ability to effectively create behaviors that can influence and motivate others. Limitations to the current system of leadership self-development were reviewed with specific attention to the mentoring and professional reading programs. No matter the name, effective use of these skills can enhance your ability to communicate with, understand, and motivate both individuals and groups. Developing these skills allows you to become more capable, competent, and confident in your ability to interact with others and ultimately help you reach your goals.
The research concluded that self-development is not the most critical aspect of leadership preparation for US Air Force rated officers, but rather is the means to maximize the effect of formal education and the rated assignment system.
Our series include such skills as leadership, team building, change management, and conflict resolution. Recommendations include the development of US Air Force leadership doctrine and a leadership self-development program.
There is no tomorrow without personal growth and the leader’s development intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and behaviorally. People change, times change, businesses change and every day we are learning new ways to be more effective. Your will to continuously learn is a required characteristic of all great leaders of substance. Stop for just a moment and the rush of new knowledge and its accompanying change will pass you by. When we started this business in ’95, one of the first purchases we made was a great big computer tower, with screen, key board, software, and e-mail was just beginning to emerge as a way to communicate. I remember this thing weighing fifty pounds and it made the cats run away as I was setting it up and the lights dimmed when we booted it up. Eventually it got eaten by a worm or virus on a Sunday morning and we began the journey alongside the rest of the world into choices like Microsoft or Mac, Lotus or Office, fast or slow, ram vs. Every day was like some adventure, whether we wanted to go or not, into the exotic world of Giga and Mega that felt a little like the movie Groundhog Day. Well, we survived and, since those old computers have gone from those large, heavy, complicated, proprietary tools that required a steep learning curve to fast, sleek, light and easy to use business necessities. If you were around during this time, you may never have envisioned how quickly this would all happen. I think it was the ever-increasing knowledge of the users and the demand for more, faster, smarter and less cumbersome tools. For all the early computer people who wanted to keep the status quo of their world intact, well, today they probably work for one of you or were simply passed by in the whirl of change.
But, just think what might have happened if our first computer had not succumbed to the ravages of some anonymous hacker in his mom’s basement?


What if we were working with software from 1995 and still scaring the cats each morning engaged in the lengthy and sometimes tenuous process of launch?
Interesting fact for you to consider is that in our workshops we find that two-thirds of participants are women yet the overwhelming (still) number of management roles are filled by men in business. This number is changing quickly but is it because of the emergence of women into the workplace or their seemly endless approach to learning?
To this end, we feel each leader needs to understand the skills and behaviors of personal development and be the model for other leaders and for aspiring leaders. Give yourself a score of 1-5 (1 is poor and 5 is good) to see how well you are doing in this segment of development.
They will, no doubt, have an opinion and you may be surprise at the added benefit of having a partner in your plan. Step by step plans make sense to people and as a leader you need to be able to build a table, chart, or even a hand written document for yourself that helps identify the first, second and third things to accomplish.
When you share what you are doing, it is a great way to build credibility with subordinates and your boss.
These small bit-sized chunks are easier to achieve, easier to sustain and easier to build into habits. There is plenty of time to ramp up and raise the bar and it is always about small attainable steps. Look for success in the learning elements as well as the skill part of the plan and build on them. Documentation helps you make a case for your continued growth and your continued investment in your future.
Without this critical documentation, you will find that your boss is less likely to support the continued investment of time and resource. The question is more than rhetorical because the answer will determine what you do for your own growth and development. If, for instance, you determine you want to be president of your company, the path you take will be significantly different than it might be if you plan on leaving the organization to start your own business. For a more conventional approach you can take indicators and diagnostics that will help you determine things like preference (Myers-Briggs) your IQ, EQ, Career AnchorsTM and many more of the things traditionally held as indicators of potential.
A little less conventional approach would be to spot something that others are doing that looks like fun, challenging, interesting and that you have the heart for. We would recommend a combination of the two to be used as a process over time that continues on for years as your career evolves and you add layers to your development. The formula for success here is part personal energy and excitement, and part personal belief (you really need to believe you can). Here is how it goes, you gain feedback and do research, plus soul searching around your potential beginnings with energy to quantify the behaviors that will create success. For leaders this is not an occasional thing but a routine thing and with it comes occasional failure. Find me a leader who rewards thoughtful trying and I will show you someone who gets maximum creativity, initiative, and potential from others and from themselves.



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