Leadership skills for today
Leadership skills today look so different to what it did when I studied at university some 30 years ago. Back then it was all about being in charge, managing people, delivering value on the product or service you are in charge of, and getting things done. Much like a leader you would think about in the armed forces.
Today leaders do more than manage performance: They inspire. They innovate. They listen, and they go out of their way to help their team members succeed. They lead from looking within, and allowing the awareness to precede changes.
The skills used today a totally different set then what we used even 10 years ago. The training I was delivering back then still applies, yet it has changed. Today the focus and perspective of leadership is about leading from within to gain inspiration, facilitation, decision making, creativity, and creating a positive culture.
Some of the Key skills needed to being a leader in our current times are in a huge growth phase. The following are skills that are needed:
- Communication skills are more important now than they ever were.
- You need to learn to listen, to really listen to seek to understand.
- The ability to be authentic and transparent, to be curious and to be able to draw others in.
- Being proactive – thinking 3 steps ahead, and planning to go that path
- Being able to create diversity in teams, and also to create cross functional teams
- Displaying the attributes of being a leader, whether you are in a leadership role currently or not.
- Negotiation skills, not just in sales, with other employees and stakeholders.
- Having skills to build a strong network
One of the areas in leadership that is gaining momentum is creative problem solving. As a leader you no longer just need your skills and knowledge that got you your promotion. Today you need to think creatively, be able to involve the whole team, and inspire action.
We need leadership that is designed for a dynamic environment. This means being able to change as the environment changes, plus being able to work with other teams across the organisation for specific projects. Leaders need to be able to handle the volatility that this brings, and allow the teams to feel coherency with their experience and the company.
Organisations, the leadership team and their expectations within organisations also are changing rapidly. Therefore we need to be able to communicate to others what those expectations are. Therefore we need to transparent, and real, as well as learning skills to communicate in remote environments as well as face to face.
The way we learn is also changing. The old ways of learning as a once off event is no longer fitting the current economy.
We need to change the model of how we learn. These skills are ones you can learn in a once off training course, yet the reality is for them to be applied in the real world, you need continuous learning and sharing to grow. This means you need assistance from a mentor, a peer or coach over a longer term.
One way this works really well is through a mastermind group or a community of practice. Each person comes from a diverse background, and brings with them skills that are unique to them.
This group meets regularly for example every month or every other week. This means the learning is continuous, and just in time. Small groups of 6 – 8 people in size are a great way to gain that intimacy of discussion and build the trust with each other.
Training is all about being provided with information and new knowledge in a once off situation. Peer masterminds, or Communities of practice allow the integration of skills, and the realistic experiences based on the workplace.
Regular meetings means real workplace examples can be discussed and everyone benefits from the continuous learning. In Masterminds I’ve worked with I’ve seen and heard discussions of challenges, real problem solving and possible solutions from previous experience. The groups form strong networks, and rely on each other to help them move through their business and career. In some cases they have even used the network of each other to help them out under a contract basis. They all find the support and opportunities to talk through situations is extremely beneficial.
Having continuous learning allows the development fully realised leaders, ones who are agile and able to pivot when needed.
Looking at organisations a continuous assessment of what people need in order to be successful today, or of what we might experience.
From my perspective I hear people say they feel like they are growing. When they grow, the business grows. You will be able to measure the improvement to your bottom line. The ROI is a key element of the organisation for this investment.
Ask yourself, “If we were successful at this, what would we expect to be doing?” Look at all area risk mitigation, increased efficiency on errors, better leadership, better communication across teams, better leadership.
If this interests you and you would like to work with Merinda on placing your leaders into Mastermind groups, then click here.
Consider the effectiveness of your new team, the momentum they will bring to the culture, and the bottom line.
Leaders don’t always have all the answers they need to know how to get those answers. This means learning skills in how to ask questions. This is a huge shift in mindset and culture of organisations.