There is always something new to learn about leadership development. Your business priorities are ever evolving, and the people needed to fill your most critical roles are, too.
This year, three big trends are rocking the leadership development landscape, according to DDI.
1. Building bench strength is critical for future success.
With only 11 percent of HR leaders reporting a strong bench to fill leadership roles (a 10-year low compared to 18 percent in 2011), many companies have their sights set on building a pool of new leaders. Succession planning is a challenge because demands on leaders are greater than ever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define the future workplace and skills for which we must develop new leaders.
2. Achieving skills agility is the new standard.
Speaking of skills, 2020 tested the capabilities of leaders in unprecedented ways. They had to be more prepared to respond to competition in their industries (according to 78 percent), and to innovate to improve products and services (reported 61 percent). And digital acumen became 25 percent more important for leaders due to the workplace implications of COVID-19. Leaders were less effective at leading virtual workers and using emotional intelligence.
3. Learning shines under pressure.
During the height of the global pandemic, leaders reported spending 5.6 hours learning per week, compared to 3.9 hours both pre-COVID and again in our emerging new normal. DDI purports that uncertainty often creates a craving to learn, and when we are surrounded by the unfamiliar, we get desperate for a lifeline. Additionally, 40 percent of leaders today prefer online learning, compared to 28 percent pre-COVID.
A new road to leadership development
Leadership development is a unique differentiator for your organization. According to Center for Creative Leadership, “if your business commits to developing its leaders, you can expect to gain a significant competitive advantage by improving your bottom line; attracting, developing, and retaining talent; driving strategy execution; and increasing your success when navigating change.”
Achieving sustained success requires a fresh focus on growing the capabilities of your people and aligning them with your organization’s strategy. A successful leadership development program encompasses five areas of leader development: cultivating an understanding of the business, proactively dealing with change, growing strong technical skills, flexing your emotional intelligence, and unifying people through a consistent vision.
- Business focus. Many leaders in your organization have grown through the ranks. They are exceptional executors but may be less proficient at seeing the bigger picture. Develop their business strengths by focusing on strategic thinking, organizational performance, and organizational systems capabilities.
- Change management. How do new leaders navigate politics and decipher culture? Prepare your bench to chart these often-ambiguous pathways. Encourage their influence-building capabilities by rallying their teams to join them.
- Technical requirements. Among the operational skills that a leader must add to their tool belt, understanding how to execute diagnostic and support tools, analytical techniques, and project management are among the most critical. Especially in the midst of digital disruption, the savviest leaders will take time to learn how to hone these tactics.
- Interpersonal attributes. People deserve to be treated with kindness and grace. Active listening, emotional intelligence, and resilience have never been more important for leaders.
- Vision. Like business capabilities, visioning must be taught. Leaders who inspire people, creatively solve problems, and build effective team and group dynamics will rise to the top.
Unleash your people potential today
At Brighter Strategies, we look at current leader capabilities to identify strategic opportunities that can be developed along your road to success. We offer fully customized leadership development programs to ensure learning and provide time for practice. We use a variety of large and small group formats, online and in-person learning, assessment tools, coaching, and our decades of experience to help you build your own leadership capabilities. Learn more today.