Make time to develop leadership skills - The Packer

Make time to develop leadership skills

11/16/2012 09:40:00 AM
Bryan Silbermann


2. Ask colleagues

The produce industry is full of amazing leadership, and you’re never too senior in rank to seek advice.

Ask other industry executives whose leadership style you admire for leadership development recommendations. Many first-time attendees to PMA Foundation for Industry Talent leadership programs have said they registered only because a colleague made the suggestion.

So if granting yourself permission to take time for professional development gives you a guilt trip, perhaps you’ll feel better if the suggestion comes from a peer.

Here are a few industry colleagues who commit to leadership development and find it to be…


  •  “...the best investment I make on an annual basis.” — Vic Smith, chief executive officer, Fresh Innovations

  •  “…an opportunity to reflect on many needs in our business and personal lives.” — Robby Barkley, chief executive officer, GreenGate Fresh LLP

  •  “…a great time to step back and reassess your style of leadership.” — Rich Dachman, vice president of produce, Sysco Corp.


3. Spin networking

Since we seem to have less difficulty finding networking time than we do time for learning, why not make networking events work double duty as leadership enhancement?

For example, you could use leadership conversations as ice breakers (“Hi! What a pleasure to meet you. I’ve always admired your company’s progress and style. How do you keep your team motivated to routinely produce such creative approaches?”).

You could also use discussions about current issues to learn about how other industry members’ apply leadership styles to steer teams toward solutions.

In fact, networking events can actually be like breakout sessions where you can:


  •  stretch your thinking with broader perspectives from people in top positions and different industry segments;

  •  discuss issues similar to your own to create an idea exchange; and

  •  gain greater comprehension of industry topics to translate knowledge into solutions relevant to your company.


My point is there’s no better time than now to recharge your leadership mindset through the many leadership development opportunities available.

Regardless of seniority, executives still need to routinely hone their leadership abilities.

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