Training leaders in 2022
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Seven leadership development areas the C-Suite should not ignore

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There is a steadily growing appetite for upskilling, especially as many employers are facing a skills and recruitment crisis. But what about the C-Suite?

4th Mar 2022
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With 2022 bringing renewed hope that training may be back at the top of the agenda, there is a steadily growing appetite for upskilling, especially as many employers are facing a skills and recruitment crisis. But what about the C-Suite? After the pressure leaders have been under over the last two years, many leaders want to or should take time to take stock and revisit their own learning and development in 2022 in these vital areas:

1. Leadership style 

In the past, how you motivated the team, showed you valued key performers, how much of a visionary and risk taker you were and how you ensured top performance all used to indicate important features of leadership style. But, now, trust lies at the heart of leadership. If your team don’t trust you then they won’t be motivated, loyal, onboard with change or believe what they are being told.

Being a responsible leader and shaping the business by making informed ethical judgements has never been more critical

Taking time to assess how the leadership team performed and felt during the last two years and taking part in an immersive learning experience about different leadership styles is vital. This should involve self-awareness, accountability, empowerment, resilience, emotions, empathy, vulnerability, purpose, vision, bias and trust.

2. Responsibility  

Being a responsible leader and shaping the business by making informed ethical judgements has never been more critical but many leaders are wondering how best to do it whilst keeping the financials healthy. Training in the area of corporate responsibility means listening openly, developing the courage of long-term thinking and value-led problem solving, having a clear set of values and goals in the context of a real purpose for the business, and knowing how to communicate them effectively.  

3. Communication

Most leaders are already good communicators but there is a difference between good and outstanding communication especially in a digital and social world. Paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues, being able to deliver information in a clear and concise fashion, listening well and being personable are characteristics that good leaders should revisit every couple of years.

Training in 2022 should focus on the nature of human interactions, effective meetings (including avoiding video call fatigue), conflict management, listening and rapport. Many organisations have increased the implementation of technology in the last year, and leaders need to ensure they are fully capable of maximising its effectiveness, and at the end of the day, communication is fundamentally a human-to-human thing.

Effective leaders are humble, patient, have a clear vision and know when their contribution is needed and when others need to be at the forefront

4. Self-awareness (and personal growth) 

Effective leaders are humble, patient, have a clear vision and know when their contribution is needed and when others need to be at the forefront. This in turn will lead to increased collaboration, productivity and cooperation. Training that leads to understanding the impact of your attitude, beliefs and behaviours will be key to best practice in 2022.  This should include understanding the ego, mindfulness, drive and motivation, as well as your identity, fears, biases, authenticity, purpose, values and beliefs.

5. Wellbeing

Employee welfare is firmly at the centre of the workplace with people management, retention issues and rising concerns about mental health and burnout on the agenda. Leaders need training in employee wellbeing as it has moved from being a matter that was dealt with on an occasional individual basis to what is now a collective heightened awareness of mental health and the impact of grief, bullying and harassment, alongside the importance of managing stress and inclusion.

Workers are more interested in a healthy work life balance and want flexibility, but how do leaders get it right when balancing the wants of individual employees versus the good of the business in its entirety. Is setting precedence in workplace flexibility going to open a can of worms for leaders and if so how can they best deal with this and effectively support their workers’ health and wellbeing needs?

6. The importance of work culture

Just having ticked the box for DE&I is no longer something that leaders can hope is enough. Inclusive leaders are people-oriented first and foremost. Training on how to check for unconscious bias, starting with themselves, and how to make the workplace an equal environment for all starting from the bottom upwards means actively implementing diversity, equality and inclusion systems and protocols and being committed to making it work all day every day.

In 2022 accountability means leaders need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions and step up when they are needed

Looking at micro-aggressions, bullying, harassment, labelling, respect, power and its abuse, and holes in the design of the work culture are difficult but necessary issues to be tackled systemically starting with the C-Suite. 

7. Managing in a VUCA world

Our current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous) environment has been incredibly stressful for leaders, even the most resilient ones. In 2022 accountability means leaders need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions and step up when they are needed, especially when things have gone wrong. Fixing issues and learning from them requires support, including looking at critical thinking, analytical processes, negotiation, judgment, reasoning and decision making.

Risk and stakeholder management, delegation, tackling discrimination, performance reviews and feedback, the induction processes are fundamental to success going forwards. So is celebrating innovation, hard work, creativity, agility and entrepreneurship. 

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