Key competencies for leadership development.
This pandemic has tested the best of leaders. Limited resources, maintaining a healthy productive workforce, shortage of supplies, mental health concerns, increased need to work remotely, strain on technology use, and work-life imbalance has taken some organizations to the breaking point. We have moved to reopen the world to the new norm, but the same challenges have lingered with the Delta variant, and most recently: Mu. In addition, employees are changing jobs, starting businesses at a greater pace, and some have opted out of working for fear of their health, caring for their children or family members, and refusal to accept the compensation due to inequality of pay or the working conditions. It is safe to say, leading and managing has changed drastically over the last two years.
Organizations must now consider what effective leadership needs for the future. There are some key competencies that have surfaced that have become a major focus in leadership development and executive programs. Professional development opportunities such as McPherson|Berry’s Next Level Executives Program have made these competencies the core of the learning it provides existing and emerging leaders in the program. Leaders at all levels in organizations have faced the unknown. The smartest companies will develop these skills in their leaders to be sustainable.
There are two words to be mentioned when it comes to communication: relevant and timely. A leader’s approach should not be to over-communicate during crisis, pandemics, and such, but to ensure employees understand the organization’s status and clear vision of what success looks like now during the new events occurring in the environment. How does the work they do every day help drive toward this vision? Help employees clearly see the connection. Inclusive communication ensures everyone is a part of the mission which means having the crucial conversations to build trust and cohesiveness.
Nothing like an unplanned event to poke holes and display all the weak areas of your organization. That’s exactly what the pandemic did. Leave policies, working remotely, communication channels, operational processes, and policies outlining employee requirements for a healthy workplace are just a few of the areas that required immediate attention. Although leaders are not directly responsible for creating, implementing, or changing processes, they need to know this is an important aspect of driving results in the organization. Having the right people, expertise, suppliers, and technology, builds the organization’s practice to execute. Leaders will shift from command and control to more of a network of various teams empowered to respond. Being more agile and having adaptability to drive change allows leaders to implement changes to navigate the situations that may occur during unplanned massive events.
The workforce has demonstrated that it will not tolerate an organization that is not focused on its needs in making it feel inclusive. Management and leaders with an increased awareness of how their employees think or feel will demonstrate it in their actions and decisions. Build their emotional intelligence to build awareness of self and others to minimize blind spots and bias. Leaders need to be curious to show the willingness to learn and ask the right questions. The policies and approach to the work will reflect empathy. Foster transparency and collaboration to have a healthier and psychologically safe workplace.
Anyone can make a decision, but can you make smart decisions? Organizations are better off when your decisions are made by individuals who are curious, humble, kind, resilient, honest, logical, and wise. Sounds simple, but not having a leader who can execute with these qualities can bring devastation to an organization. Followers’ engagement is high when leaders are emotionally stable, have a positive influence, and are level-headed individuals. Decision-making needs to be smart which means leaders can make better decisions when they have more information. Leaders need to get more familiar with data to grow and make data-driven decisions to move quickly.
The big opportunity is having the right leadership with the right skills and capacity. Leaders and executives that develop these competencies and execute them in their organizations see greater success. The pandemic is not over but there is time for organizations to strengthen their capacity to deliver on their brand by having the right leadership in place to strengthen the workforce and increase results.