According to a recent report by the Center for Creative Leadership, a universal leadership gap exists. Companies are experiencing shortfalls in leaders who can manage change, employee development and motivation, and translate vision into realistic business strategies and long-term objectives. Among 2200 managers surveyed, the following skills were rated by percentage to be the most important:
Leading people: 89%
Strategic planning: 86%
Inspiring commitment: 86%
Managing Change: 82%
Doing whatever it takes: 77%
Balancing life and work: 76%
How to make these finding work for you.
People skills and inspiring commitment
As you can see, “leading people” received the highest percentage of importance. To be competitive in the workforce, you must be sensitive to the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, be able to gain the support of peers and higher management, and employ advanced negotiating and conflict resolution skills.
- Employ an “open door” policy for your direct reports.
- Develop and implement employee performance standards and feedback processes.
- Host frequent “team building” activities and exercises.
- Show your employees that you care about them as people. Be sympathetic to their misfortunes and congratulate their successes.
Strategic planning and managing change
Being able to translate your vision into realistic business strategies is also a key competency you will need to have as a leader. This means you must be able to adapt to the changing pressures facing your organization, manage others’ resistance to change, and involve team members in the design and implementation of change.
- Hold frequent team “status” meetings and share updates, address concerns, and gain buy-in.
- Participate in visioning sessions with your peers to identify what needs to happen, when, and what impact the change will have on employees, staff, and customers.
- Host project planning session where you can define structure, set timelines and ensure tasks are being completed on time.
Doing what it takes and balancing personal life with work
Great leaders are able to persevere under even the more adverse conditions. But, many of them face career fatigue because they give all they have to their career, leaving no time for personal fulfillment. To be an effective leader, you must develop skills for getting work done efficiently and effectively.
- Exercise daily to increase your energy.
- Learn to delegate tasks to your peers and direct reports.
- Get involved in outside activities that inspire you.
- Take advantage of flex time and PTO – and make sure to encourage your staff to do the same.
- Find a peer mentor outside of your organization with whom you feel comfortable sharing your feelings and frustrations.