Who is Driving Your Leadership Career?

Dr Anthony Kenneson-Adams. DBA. MA. BSc(Hons). FIoL, Head of Learning and Knowledge Transfer, Project7 Consultancy

Posted on 12/26/2023


So you want to be a leader! Your leadership career is a journey, and just like any journey, it requires a driver. The question is, who is driving your leadership career? Is it you, or are you letting external forces take the wheel? Taking control of your career is essential for your personal and professional growth. In this article, I will explore the importance of you taking control and offer some insights from my 45 years in the world of work that may help you steer your career in the right direction.

The Passenger vs. The Driver

Imagine your career as a car. Imagine you have just purchased your dream vehicle, the perfect size the perfect color, everything you have ever wanted, then you hand the keys to a stranger and get comfortable in the driving seat! Bizarre right? Yet the majority of people do just this when considering their leadership journey. When you’re the passenger, you’re simply along for the ride. You might have some input on the destination, but you have no control over the route, speed, or stops along the way. In this scenario, your career is at the mercy of others—your boss, colleagues, or the job market. You’re abdicating your potential into the hands of others, others that do not care as much as you do about your destination or success.  

You deserve to be the driver of your career, to be in command. You decide where you want to go, how fast you want to get there, and the route you’ll take. Being the driver means taking responsibility for your career choices, setting goals, and making decisions that align with your aspirations. It’s a proactive and empowering approach that can lead to greater satisfaction and success, and what’s more is its fun!

Why You Should Be the Driver

Here are a few reasons why you need to settle into the driver’s seat.

1. Personal Fulfillment: Taking the driver’s seat allows you to pursue work that aligns with your passions and values. Make your own career choices on your own timeline.

2. Professional Growth: Being proactive in your career can lead to opportunities for growth and advancement. You can seek out new challenges, acquire new skills, and position yourself for the promotions or career changes that you want.  

3. Adaptability: In today’s fast-paced world, careers are constantly evolving. When you’re the driver, you can adapt to changes in your industry, embrace new technologies, and stay ahead of the curve. You can even switch cars and destinations.

4. Financial Independence: Taking control of your career can lead to better financial outcomes. You can negotiate for higher salaries, seek out more lucrative opportunities, and plan for your financial future with confidence.

how to drive your leadership career

How to Be the Driver of Your Leadership Career

To become the driver, you need to make choices and do some things differently.  

1. Set Clear Goals: Define your career objectives. Where do you want to be in one year, five years, or ten years? Having clear goals gives you a roadmap to follow. This is the what and when for your journey.

2. Continuous Learning: Invest in your skills and knowledge. Take courses, attend workshops, and stay informed about industry trends. The more you learn, the more valuable you become. This is the how of your journey.

3. Networking: Build a strong professional network. Connect with colleagues, mentors, and industry peers. Networking can open doors to new opportunities and provide valuable guidance.

4. Self-Advocacy: Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Ask for promotions, raises, or challenging assignments when you believe you’ve earned them. Speak up about your career aspirations.  This is really getting into the driving seat. 

5. Embrace Change: Be open to change and innovation. Don’t get stuck in the slow lane. Be willing to pivot when necessary to stay ahead of the other drivers in your field.

6. Work-Life Balance: Remember that being the driver of your career doesn’t mean working yourself into burnout. Maintain a healthy work-life balance to ensure long-term success and well-being. It’s ok to stop the car now and then and take in the view.

Conclusion – Leadership Career

Your career is a journey, and it’s up to you to decide who is driving the car. By taking control and becoming the driver of your career, you empower yourself to make choices that lead to personal fulfillment, professional growth, and financial independence. Don’t leave your career to chance or the whims of others. Set clear goals, invest in yourself, and be proactive in pursuing the career you desire. Remember, your career is in your hands, so take the wheel and steer it in the direction of your dreams.

Book Review – A Practical Guide to Creating Operational Excellence and High-Performance Teams

In this latest book from ‘The Project7 Consultancy,’ Dr Kenneson-Adams provides the simplified OpEx tools and practical experience to give the reader all they need to begin to implement a robust lean manufacturing stratergy with high-performance teams and authentic transformational leadership.    

Kenneson-Adams uses his 40 years’ experience in implementing high-performance teams to provide a well sign-posted journey to Operational Excellence, whilst making sure the reader knows how to sustain the changes as part of an integrated ‘People + Process = Performance’ continuous-improvement journey.  

Its balanced analysis, practical insights and accessible writing style make this an invaluable addition to the library of any professional engaged in the field of operational excellence and continuous improvement.  

If you are not sure how to begin your journey to operational excellence or need a mentor through design and implementation?  This no-nonsense volume will be the teacher and coach that you need.

 Get your free copy here


Dr Anthony Kenneson-Adams

Dr. Anthony Kenneson-Adams had a 30-year career in the Royal Air Force, becoming a Senior Engineering Officer, Project Manager and Engineering Authority responsible for multiple fast jets and large-body aircraft in peace and war operations. On retiring from the Royal Air Force, he became a Corporate Operational Excellence Consultant in the Paper Manufacturing and Packaging Industries and is now the Head of Learning and Knowledge Transfer for the international Project 7 Consultancy.  You can contact Anthony at www.project7consultancy.com or [email protected]

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