Business leaders feel pressure to keep their skills up to date
From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF, as usual in our research actions on certain subjects, we have gone out to find what happens with the level of updating that leaders require to keep up not only with new knowledge, especially derived from NT’s, but specifically in Regarding the essence of what the professional development of both the leader and his people means. In other words, updating can be exercised by going back to the classroom of a business school, doing an online master’s degree, but not least all the training and education efforts that companies make for their staff and also their bosses, managers and top managers. responsible.
It is for this reason that we have been favorably impressed by the experience that it has meant for those attending a refresher course for experienced managers carried out by the London Business School.
One of the attendees, Santiago Maestri used his experience in marketing to create a chain of stores selling iPhone accessories in his native Argentina. But as the global shift to online retail accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, he saw a need to go back to school to learn more about data science.
He clearly states it this way: “This is the language that companies are speaking right now. You have to have the skills for the future. Customers use a lot of technology and I need to understand things like recommendation engines.”
The topics discussed in this high-level training meeting ranged from deeply technical issues to business applications and the administrative implications of big data.
Courses like this are part of a broader shift toward more frequent, specialized and lifelong skills upgrading among senior executives, entrepreneurs and non-executive directors as they seek to stay ahead of fast-moving business trends. Areas of concern include cyber hacking, wellbeing and sustainability, with digital transformation among the top priorities.
“Companies say there is now a ‘never normal,’ with continual change, ambiguity and volatility,” says Kanishka Bhattacharya, adjunct assistant professor of management sciences and operations at LBS.
It is about those who attend these updating meetings being able to acquire the necessary knowledge for the future, which never better said, is just around the corner.
Even participants with computer science backgrounds gained new insights into the mathematical tools used to extract robust insights from large amounts of data and how different varieties of artificial intelligence compare to one another.
But just as important were managerial skills, especially in a competitive market for talent, where hiring and retaining specialists can mean abandoning top-down “command and control” structures. “Engineers now work not for companies,” says Bhattacharya, describing a shift to “tribes and squads” of coders with deeper knowledge and sometimes higher salaries than their managers.
The trend towards upgrading high-level skills is not limited to the private sector. For example, the 25 participants in this month’s advanced management course from Cambridge University’s Judge Business School included leaders from government departments and health and education providers, as well as executives as varied as a British business owner. of eco-friendly coffins and a shipping manager from New Zealand.
For three weeks, they discussed the factors driving global disruption for organizations, how to respond strategically, and how to develop their own leadership skills. Morning sessions to keep fit were interspersed with class discussions, workshops and individual tutoring.
The opinion of Stelios Kavadias, who is a professor at the Judge School and teaches an advanced management course, is that “we want to explore the effects of unexpected geopolitical events and how senior people should respond.” This leads them to reflect on the context so that they can implement reforms within their own organizations instead of trying to take ideas from elsewhere, which often doesn’t work and develops cynicism.
The pandemic accelerated the process of training and updating senior management
After a brief hiatus in executive education during the pandemic, as companies slashed training budgets and focused on adapting to remote work and wild swings in their markets, there is a new appetite for such insights and growing competition among education providers to serve them.
A recent FT survey of chief learning officers (CLOs) showed that more than half expected their training budgets to be higher this year 2022 than the previous year. Their motivations included acquiring new knowledge as well as retaining senior staff, not least allowing executives to mingle again in person, off-site, following the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Leadership development was the most frequently cited area in which they sought training, followed by diversity and inclusion, digital transformation, change management, innovation and digital skills.
More than a fifth highlighted wellness, resilience and sustainability as ongoing themes.
Meanwhile, business schools report a growing demand for alumni to hear professors’ ideas during meetings, or increasingly to attend classes offered to current students, as they seek to stay current.
Directors must cope with uncertainty and hold executives accountable in a different way
But, with costs under pressure and demand for innovation in content and format, schools themselves face disruption from competitors, including digital startups.
The FT survey showed that many CLOs were partnering with individual consultants, training companies and online platforms, such as LinkedIn, to deliver programs to their executives.
Patrick Dunne, a consultant with varied experience in for-profit and nonprofit organizations who provides training for boards of directors, says that the appetite for continuous improvement reaches to the top of organizations. Even non-executive directors seek to benefit from workshops, simulations, and peer coaching.
“There is a shift that is creating a very different kind of leadership that blends culture, purpose, values and style,” says Dunne.
He argues that, in the past, boards have been able to hold management accountable based on previously agreed upon strategic plans and budgets. On the contrary, “the modern world is satellite navigation: you know where you are going, but the weather can change or there are obstacles, so you don’t know how you will get there. Directors must deal with uncertainty and hold executives accountable in a different way.”
For many, the opportunity to network with other executives, guest speakers, and professors who are also professionals is a key benefit of upskilling. Why travel 40 hours to London for these courses? Because it’s not just a very good level of education, it’s also the people.”
4 Simple Things You Can Do Every Day to Improve Your Leadership Skills
Leadership is one of those concepts that everyone loves to talk about but can’t quite define. You know what it is when you see it. As young professionals entering the workforce, they will have opportunities to lead throughout their respective careers. When that time comes, they will have to be very prepared.
Here are four tips to help you become an effective leader.
1º) Listen to the ideas of others
Great listeners are outstanding leaders. Listening will help you understand both the problems and the opportunities in your company. The people you work with are there for a reason. They have experience and talents that are valuable. Listen and value their perspectives. Having open conversations with them will generate invaluable insights and teach you a thing or two.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss their recommendations. In the event that you are the boss, that does not mean that you have a monopoly on positive contributions. Listen to advice from other leaders, even if they’re not in the same industry as you.
2º) You must take responsibility
As a leader, you are not only responsible for yourself, but also for your team and your customer base. The decisions you make have consequences that affect not only you.
If you don’t communicate effectively with your team, for example, business operations are negatively affected. When you stop being accountable, inefficiencies arise. This will make it very difficult to fulfill the vision of the company.
3º) Respect those who work with you
This is a basic concept that we all learned as children. Treat others exactly as you would like to be treated. Talk to your team members like the smart adults they are. There is absolutely no need to be condescending, dismissive and rude to them.
Trust these tips, as being an aggressive leader doesn’t scare employees into respecting you. It certainly doesn’t do your morale any favors. If you want them to do their best work, you simply have to respect them. Remember that arrogance has never seemed attractive to anyone. Just keep people from helping you.
4º) You must be willing to get your hands dirty
Working with your team is important. You can’t build a brand by eating, sleeping and breathing delegation. Monitor company social media channels. Answer inquiries. You must do the work that your team usually does on a daily basis. This will give you the opportunity to experience first-hand the challenges they face.
Understanding this will give you valuable and also essential information for you to make your strategic decisions. It will also show your team that you are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.
Your personal leadership style will undoubtedly evolve over time. However, having strong principles and knowing the kind of leader you’d like to be can help you get started on the right path.
How do you improve your leadership skills?
8 ways to develop your leadership skills
– Practice discipline. A good leader needs discipline.
– Take on more projects. A great way to develop your leadership skills is to take on more responsibility.
– Learn to follow.
– Develop situational awareness.
– Inspire others.
– Keep learning.
– Empower your peers.
– Resolve conflicts.
What is the methodology you should apply to develop your leadership skills?
Faced with the question that you can ask yourself about how to improve your leadership skills, you have to think about being methodical and orderly:
1º) You must make things passionate for you.
2º) You must attend management and leadership courses.
3º) You must consider each day as an opportunity.
4º) You have to improve your hard skills.
5º) You have to train your capacity for daily reflection.
6º) You must look for a mentor to help and guide you.
How can the leadership experience be improved?
You should follow some simple ways to get more leadership experience, for example:
– Offer to take the lead on a project.
– Every company has work that needs to be done and no one has the time or inclination to do it. These are opportunities not to be missed.
– If you have to volunteer in a certain leadership role supporting the management, it is also a very good opportunity.
– You must take classes that favor your professional development and training.
– You must be willing to take the initiative in any new project or changes that are made at work.
How can you improve your leadership skills action plan?
When you ask yourself this question, you are thinking strategically. Which leads you to take into consideration the following aspects:
– How to create an action plan to become a better leader.
– You must assess your strengths and weaknesses.
– Establish clearly what your mission is and the goals you must set.
– You have to establish a timeline with measurable actions.
– You must monitor and evaluate progress.
– You should adjust your action plan as needed.
– You must favor the development of the team and then your self-development.
– You must inculcate strategic thinking and actions.
– You must encourage innovation.
– You have to practice ethics and respect for principles and values.
How can you develop and even improve your professional skills?
Developing your skills requires effort, dedication and not least, good training. This can be facilitated by attending a workshop, taking a course, reading news and continuously updating yourself, even observing how people who excel in certain leadership skills act.
For this reason, it is important to consider the ways in which you can obtain feedback on your work and responsibilities from people who are highly trained, as well as make an ongoing evaluation of the progress you notice you are making in your development. Identify those areas in which you have improved and those other areas that you should take into account to reinforce in order to achieve continuous growth.
How to grow a leader?
There are actions that are essential for those who are going to occupy leadership positions to be trained and who intend to become great leaders:
1º) Know how to use evaluations to find leadership potential in other people who will have to occupy decision-making positions and more responsibility.
2º) Empower all employees in general.
3º) Motivate all the cadres with ambitious, but plausible and measurable objectives.
4º) Offer development and training programs.
5º) Provide training and mentoring.
6º) Establish professional progression routes.
7º) Emphasize the importance of internal communication and especially with middle managers.
8º) Learn to recognize the potential of the staff.
9º) Identify emerging leaders who can step in and play critical roles when needed.
10º) Get help and advice in finding high-potential employees.
How to improve your leadership skills
There are frequent statements by managers who have made an effort to update themselves, making statements such as “when I enrolled in business school, my goal was to obtain specific knowledge related to things such as marketing, strategy and finance. But I ended up learning in a much broader sense, including learning the importance of self-reflection.” And this is important as leaders not only need to understand the industry landscape and the needs of their employees. They also need to look inward, reflect on how they can improve their leadership skills, and then take concrete steps to do so.
Put another way, we should be looking to improve our leadership skills the same way we upgrade our iPhones.
So leadership updates should be done every eight to 12 months. Think of it as an annual self-assessment.
While it may sound obvious, reflection is often overlooked. There is a natural tendency for people to motivate themselves by comparing their progress with that of others. Someone else climbed two rungs on the corporate ladder, for example. But as with most things, one size doesn’t really fit all. It is important for leaders to take the time to identify their own strengths and goals.
It is important to ask yourself the following questions
– Where do you want to be in two years?
– Do you want to climb the ladder?
– Do you want to move laterally but take on additional responsibility?
– Do you want to set up your own company?
With these questions answered, you can begin to think about what particular skills, abilities, or tools you need to accomplish those goals.
Once that stage is complete, you should create a concrete plan for moving from self-assessment to self-commitment. This way you know what skills you need, so it’s time to plan how you will get them. This can take many forms: training, formal education, reading books, etc. You should also find a mentor who can guide you. You should be able to advise which approach is best for a given skill.
However, this process should not be based solely on tasks. You must identify the desired results and ways to measure them. Similarly, it is important to prioritize. It is not good to have a list of aspirations, but not finish any of them. Quantity is not important, quality is. Also, if you refresh your skills every eight to 12 months, you’ll have time to tackle new goals in the next round.
Listen to employees and customers
Many academics and leadership experts always preach about the importance of leaders listening to their customers and employees, but it’s usually for the sake of business success. However, listening and asking for feedback is also equally important for the leader’s own development as well as her personal development.
Again, there are many ways to see if you’re making progress. You can ask leaders, peers, direct reports, even family and friends. Your mentor must also continue to be a sounding board. Do they see a difference in the way you approach decision-making or an evolution in your emotional intelligence? Do they have suggestions for other areas you could work on?
Many people misunderstand leadership as a top-down affair, where the leader knows best and makes the decisions. But really, leadership is about dialogue, whether you’re launching a new product or trying to get better at that role.
Sometimes external factors push leaders to grow. Perhaps your work circumstance is out of your control. Or maybe there is a global pandemic turning normal business operations upside down!
While it’s important to have a game plan to improve your leadership, it’s also important to be flexible. When the external environment changes, you must incorporate new perspectives into your learning plan. Covid-19, for example, has demanded a new set of skills from leaders, such as the ability to present a calm and confident front, even when just as anxious as everyone else. Similarly, leaders must now hyper-empower their employees, helping them learn, change quickly, and make decisions.
The bottom line is that reaching a leadership position should not represent a goal. The best leaders are constantly evaluating ways to improve and transform their careers. However, that can only happen with honest self-assessments, trusted mentors, and great commitment, including a commitment to feedback and flexibility. There is always room to grow as a leader. The important thing is to think carefully about where you are going and what skills or training will help you get there.
As icing on the cake, updating your leadership is a fantastic example for employees, who should also be thinking about their career paths and committing to a growth mindset.