According to recent studies, 58% of American companies say that closing the current gaps in leadership is their number one strategic priority. Walking the talk in no uncertain way, these organizations spent a mind-boggling $31 billion on leadership education to try to come up to speed.
Over the next few years, these companies are expected to up their spending even more as the intensity of competition increases and the growing realization that professional development is a very important element of business strategy. The improvement in leadership skills can give both the business and you a competitive edge that is necessary for forging ahead. Contrary to common belief, to be considered a leader, it is not necessary that you have to be always in a C-level position. People with strong leadership qualities are valued at every level of the organization for their ability to inspire, influence, and engage coworkers and stakeholders.
The Importance of Leadership Skills
While leadership abilities have always been prized by business enterprises, recent studies have been able to establish a more direct link between the quality of leadership and its impact on the success of the organization. This realization has been one of the factors that are spurring ever-increasing investments into leadership-centric initiatives. It has been seen that businesses that have strong leadership can achieve a better organizational performance, have high productivity, achieve superior levels of customer satisfaction, have superior product quality, and generate better profitability. There is also a positive correlation between strong organizational leadership and employee retention, engagement, performance, and morale.
Even though organizations realize how important it is for them to have high-quality leadership, a mammoth 84% of them predict that there will be a significant shortage of talented leaders in the next five years. One of the reasons for the shortage is that an increasing number of positions are being filled by people replacing those who are retiring but have very little experience or leadership talent. The shortage of leadership skills makes it even more important for those seeking employment to demonstrate robust leadership skills in addition to the industry and job-specific skills. Leadership is not a skill that you acquire one day and can afford to forget about it, rather it has to be hone and developed on every single day for you to remain relevant. Leaders of today need to have strong leadership skills so that they can manage teams and inspire them to reach the organizational objectives rather than just be an expert in a specific field. A quick look at some of the key skills leaders need to have:
The pace of virtually all modern businesses is hectic and employees can find themselves constantly on the go right from the morning and find it impossible to stop for the entire day. When you are focused so intensely on getting things done one after another, self-development goes out of the window and slowly but surely, your value to the organization reduces.
Even if you are one of the busiest individuals in the organization, you should reserve some time every week during which, you can focus on yourself rather than the business, try to learn something new, add to your skills, learn a new method of doing something that has demonstrated benefits. You can reflect on the issues that you have been facing within the organization and try to find ways of tackling them in a better way. Planning for the coming week is also a part of self-development as it helps you to focus better and achieve more, observes a NationaldebtRelief.com financial counselor with experience of dealing with distressed entrepreneurs.
According to management gurus, one of the most successful approaches to managing people consists of adopting a leadership style that focuses on the development of partnerships with team members and working with them together to develop and attain the organizational goals.
The participative approach allows the team members to be more independent in achieving their responsibilities even as they function within a team. According to https://www.forbes.com, empowering employees makes it more likely that decisions in the best interests of the company will be taken. The interaction of the team leader with the team members is less about overseeing their jobs and more about making sure the focus of the team is right. Leaders should interact regularly with the team members and find out their ambitions, interest, and goals to try and work out a plan to access resources required to make the transition.
Strategic Thought and Action
Contemporary businesses must remain agile and responsive to change to be able not only survive but thrive under challenging conditions. The prestigious Harvard Business Review rates strategic thinking to be among the most highly desirable traits in leaders and the strategic approach to business leadership was rated ten times more important to other studied behaviors to the perception of effectiveness. Those who can think strategically can take a long-range and broad approach to decision-making and problem-solving that involves planning, thinking ahead, and objective analysis.
Ethics and Civic Mindedness
Leaders can pass on their value standards to their team members. The things that you do, talk about, permit, and encourage become part of the culture of your team because, in a supportive team environment, the things that you value are automatically emulated by the team members. It can be a good thing to reference the written policies and procedures that every organization has outlining its ethics and civic behavior policies periodically, instead of rushing to read them in a crisis. Leaders should be familiar with the policies so that they can respond immediately to emerging ethics situations.
Rather than following the popular notion that leaders are born, not created, people who have the foresight and can anticipate the changing business environment can prepare themselves better for leadership roles. Apart from the domain knowledge that they must have, they should focus on self and team development, focus on strategic thinking and action, as well as be well conversant with matters of corporate ethics and the stand to be taken in times of need.