10 “Off-the-Job” Leadership Development Opportunities

Life’s one long leadership development class.

There are opportunities to develop as leaders all around us, inside and outside of our Monday – Friday, 8-5 existence.

As you identify leadership capabilities you’d like to development, here is a list of 10 “off-the-job”, “non-work” experiences that you can incorporate into your individual development plan (IDP), along with the leadership lessons they can teach us:

1. Coaching a team: developing others, teamwork, building and leading a team, motivation, performance management

2. Parenting: coaching, development, patience, interpersonal skills, selflessness, stewardship

3. Step-parenting: Dealing with inherited problems, taking over and owning a project that wasn’t your idea, solving problems and dealing with significant stakeholders, overcoming resistance to change

4. Marriage (or being with a significant other): listening, patience, negotiation, collaboration

5. Being an in-law or dealing with in-laws: dealing with diversity, collaboration, acceptance of cultural differences, building and maintaining positive relationships

6. Managing a family: budgeting, financial planning, multi-tasking, planning and scheduling, resolving conflicts, setting priorities, resource utilization, leading change

7. Leading a community organization: an opportunity to practice leadership and receive feedback in a less risky environment

8. Planning a school or social event: project management, planning, budgeting, goal setting, building consensus, dealing with opposition

9. Home improvement projects: learning from mistakes, planning, patience, reflection

10. Joining a weight loss or exercise program: goal setting, motivation, discipline, reward and recognition

Can you think of others? How else can we develop our leadership skills when we’re not being paid?