The Importance of Expanding Not Just Elevating As Leaders
Speak to any business leader and they will tell you that the workplace is changing and the pace of that change is only getting faster. In fact, according to a report by Dell Technologies in 2018, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.
For many of us that can be a difficult prospect to grasp, so what is the key to thriving when the future of our workforce is unknown?
Clearly it is time to revisit that long held belief that empowering our employees to climb up the ladder is the only way to succeed and instead look at widening said ladder to enable our teams to expand their skills as well as elevate them.
If we are to be effective and courageous leaders we need to make sure we are providing the working environment that supports everyone to be brave in their pursuit of success, however that looks.
Here are three key ways to achieve this:
Reskill As Well As Upskill
Gone are the days when career paths within businesses were a simple linear path from junior employee to business leader and those who completed this path the quickest were lauded as the winners in business.
Now we must recognise that it is not a race to the finishing line and often the most successful of those in our team are the people who take their time, veer off in one direction to return a little later and enjoy the journey as they go. A speed boat may reach the other side of the lake quicker but the yacht that zig zags across at its own pace reaches the same destination and has more adventures to tell of when it arrives.
The future of leadership needs to be more people centered rather than career centered. We need to listen to our team and treat each one as individuals, taking the time to learn their individual interests and ambitions.
By developing and supporting people to achieve what they want to achieve rather than forcing them to follow a predetermined career path, you will be building a more resilient and deft individual capable of taking on the challenges of their yet undetermined future.
Giving people permission to move out of their lane and explore what interests them will also be creating an environment where people feel empowered to take risks, to make bolder and braver decisions and move your business forward with passion and integrity.
Be Prepared To Share Your Team
For too long, leadership was seen as a way to build mini-empires and opportunities for growth and development within the team were seen as a threat. This thinking no longer has a place within modern leadership. If we continue to be protective and defensive of our teams we will be denying them the opportunities to harness the skills needed in the future.
A good leader isn’t one who’s team knows their place and doesn’t step out of line, but one who encourages those they work with to look beyond the team.
We have to be open in our approach to supporting people, even if that means they ultimately find a place somewhere else. As leaders we should seek success in watching those we once led outshining us and carving their own path beyond the confines of our territories. Over protectiveness in business leads to stagnation and that spells disaster in the modern business environment.
It is important to remember though that as leaders, we do not exist alone. Being committed to sharing our teams in order to maintain creativity and innovation only works if other leaders around us are doing the same. It is all well and good recognising that a member of our sales team has an interest and flair for marketing that should be encouraged, but if the leader within the marketing team isn’t as open then there is little chance of achieving success.
Recognise Leadership Is A Skill
Nearly all of us as leaders, at some time or another, will have fallen into the trap of neglecting our leadership responsibilities in order to achieve a goal, complete an important project or simply keep on top of our workload. Often the duties that come with leadership are given to us on top of existing responsibilities to get work done.
But, as a leader it is imperative we acknowledge that our most important role is to facilitate the team to do their job better, not to do their job ourselves. Listening to and helping solve the problems within our team isn’t a distraction from our job, it is our job and like with any role it requires skill and a determination to succeed.
Simply being promoted to a leadership role, whether that involves leading people or not, does not make us a leader. We have to learn how to do it so we can be the courageous leader that businesses need if they are to survive beyond the present. But we can’t do that alone.
That is why I set up my Courageous Leaders Club to provide a community for leaders within the creative industries to learn together and from each other, giving you a safe, supportive space to reflect and recharge with like minded individuals to help you become the best leader you can be in these fast moving times. It may feel lonely at the top sometimes but with the Courageous Leaders Club it doesn’t have to.
To find out more about the Courageous Leaders Club and to apply to join visit https://thechangecreators.com/courageous-leaders-club/