Apply These Three Concepts to Kickstart Your Leadership Journey

Starting the Journey: Starting Point, Potential & Context

Rainer Maria Rilke once said “The only journey is the journey within”, which is a very succinct statement regarding leadership development as our measure of leadership capability should very much be compared to where you start. It is the improvement in leadership capability that should be measured and celebrated, not whether you are the “best” leader. Your starting point is crucial as it provides context for growth and self-awareness. Every leader begins their journey with a unique set of experiences, knowledge, skills and hardwired behaviours. By understanding where you stand in terms of leadership capabilities, you can then identify the areas for development that will best serve your leadership potential. The starting point is not a limitation but a foundation from which you build your leadership skills.

Leadership development is a dynamic process that demands individuals to continuously flex their behaviours and assess and improve their skills. No two individuals will start their leadership journey in the same way or from the same level, and the development throughout the journey will vary from person to person. Therefore, it is critical that these three keywords are kept in mind when you begin your leadership journey. 


  • Acknowledge your Starting Point
  • Visualise your Potential 
  • Provide Context


Avoiding the Comparison Trap: Focus on You 
In the pursuit of leadership development, it is essential to avoid the common trap of solely comparing yourself to others. Too often, individuals become fixated on how everyone else is leading, forgetting the importance of their own unique context, and, importantly, where they started. It’s easy to want to follow what others are doing, however, in doing so, you are neglecting your Starting Point, Potential and Context. Effective leadership is not about emulating others, but about identifying, understanding and leveraging the following: 


  • Team's Goals and Objectives: A successful leader aligns their actions with the goals and objectives of their team. Every team operates in a distinct context, and understanding this context allows leaders to make decisions that positively impact their team's success.
  • Diversity of Team Members: Leaders must recognize and appreciate the diversity within their team. Different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds contribute to a rich tapestry of ideas and innovation. Leaders who value diversity can foster an inclusive environment where everyone's strengths are utilized.
  • Your Personality & Temperament: Beyond external factors, who you are – your unique combination of personality traits (nature & nurture) – must be considered as you grow as a leader. The way you prefer to communicate with others, whether it is being more assertive, or more collaborative and inclusive. How do you cope in the face of adversity, maintain positivity and empower others? Leaders who seek to understand themselves (and not focus on others), set themselves up for a sustainable and successful leadership journey. 


During the Journey: Measure Progress and Effectiveness:
Measuring improvements in leadership directly can be a challenging task. In fact, studies have shown that only a small percentage of leadership development programs result in visible and experienced changes perceived by those around the leader. However, one effective solution to this challenge is the utilization of 360-degree feedback, both pre-program and post-program.


  • Pre-Program 360 Assessment: Gain a baseline understanding of your strengths and development areas. Ensuring that the questionnaire is aligned with the targeted competencies will set an appropriate benchmark for tracking progress. 
  • Post-Program 360 Assessment: Once the development program is completed, a post-program 360 assessment should be deployed. Use this opportunity to gauge the efficacy of the program and ask yourself: “Where did I improve?”, and “Where are my opportunities for further development?”.
  • Continuous Development: Don’t stop at one iteration of pre-assessment - development program - post-assessment. Conduct regular assessments over set intervals and adapt your development strategies accordingly. Each iteration provides you with a new Starting Point and Context, and ensures a continuous, and sustainable journey towards growth and improvements. 
  • Celebrate Wins: As you go through the iterative process, don’t forget to celebrate your wins! Again, Starting Point, how far did you come from where you started? If you’ve done it correctly, your peers, managers, and direct reports would have been celebrating along the way. 


By implementing a comprehensive questionnaire that reflects the targeted competencies and behaviours in the leadership development program, leaders can gain valuable insights. The 360-degree feedback process involves gathering feedback from multiple perspectives, including peers, direct reports and managers. This feedback provides a holistic view of the leader's strengths and areas for improvement, allowing for a more accurate measurement of progress over time.

Take Home 
As you embark on your leadership journey, remember:

  • Identify and recognize your Starting Point and its significance, you’re only as capable as your last Starting Point 
  • Understand contextual factors that are unique to your development
  • Leverage your unique personality traits to your advantage. 
  • Avoid the comparison trap, what makes someone else a great leader will not necessarily make you one. 


During your journey, be sure to measure the progress and effectiveness of your development plan. Take advantage of 360-degree feedback tools to track your progress and don’t be afraid to adopt new strategies along the way and adapt to new contextual factors. A 360-degree feedback assessment should offer a holistic view of your journey, highlight areas for further improvement, and celebrate your wins. 

Whether you’re on your 10th Starting Point, or just about to establish your first, our team at MultiRater Surveys are here to help. Afterall, we like to practice what we preach. As such, we’re releasing our very own Pre-Post Comparison Report in the next couple of months. So go ahead, book in a 30-minute chat with one of our consultants so that you’ll be ready for your next Starting Point.