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Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

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2 Progressing your career

Now you have a clearer understanding of what a leader is, the crucial interdependence between leaders and followers, and the challenges leaders will face both now and in the future – you must decide how you want to personally progress from here.

A wooden mannequin climbs up some wooden blocks arranged as stairs.
Figure 2 Climbing step by step.

You might find it useful to refer to Week 1, Activity 5 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , where you were thinking about your aspirations for the course. Have those aspirations changed?

Before you start to identify goals and plan your actions, many business experts highlight the value of having a personal leadership vision. Knowing what kind of leader you want to be and how you want to lead will help you to prioritise your goals and give you a clearer target for the future.

Activity 2 What is your leadership vision?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Use your leadership journal to consider your own leadership vision. Try to keep it concise and inspiring. Describe what kind of leader you want to be in, for example, five years.

Examples of personal leadership visions include:

‘To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.’

Oprah Winfrey

‘To be an honest and accessible leader, known for leading engaged and effective teams.’

Higher Education Leader

Use the space below to articulate your vision:

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What did you come up with? Did you focus on personal traits and qualities or on how you want to undertake the leadership process? Whatever you chose, you can start to consider how to develop from where you are now into that leader. A vision can take some time to perfect, so you may not have identified precisely what you want to say in the 15 minutes allocated here. Spend some more time refining it if you need to. If you have identified a mentor, they could be a useful sounding board for your ideas.

Now you have a sense of the type of leader you want to be, where are you going to put it into practise? For example, in your current workplace, in a voluntary role or in a new job?

Many of you will be planning to use the information and practical advice covered in this course to advance your career in some way. Take a few minutes to focus on the options that you could explore next.

Activity 3 What could you do next?

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

In the box below, list all the career-related options that you could potentially explore next, for example, a new project role, promotion, a new job etc. If you are not currently looking for employment, you might consider voluntary activities or perhaps sharing your own leadership observations and experience through social media. Don’t worry at this stage whether they are options you actively want to pursue – include anything that comes into your head!

If it helps, use the following categories:

  • In the workplace
  • Outside work
  • In person
  • Online
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This activity is intended to be done as a quick brainstorm about all the options that might be available to you. You could also include others in the brainstorming process, for example, your mentor, manager, friends, family etc. to see if they come up with anything different. In Section 3 you’ll edit these ideas and settle on some key goals for the future.