Prioritize leadership development by helping employees become more effective and empowered.
Learning and development is vital to any company wanting to build and retain top talent. According to the Harris Poll, 70% of employees would leave their current company for one that invests in their L&D. But as workplaces — and the world — have radically changed before us in recent years, so too have the skills that leaders need to thrive.
“I used to think that leadership and getting to the next level was about taking on more and more: more responsibility, more work, more accolades, more obligations, more everything,” says Dr. Matt Poepsel, Vice President & “The Godfather of Talent Optimization” at The Predictive Index. “And I’ve learned that it’s about doing less but doing it better.”
Teach leaders these five essential leadership skills to help them do exactly that.
Heightening self-awareness helps leaders make better decisions and optimizes team collaboration. “What you find among the most effective and celebrated leaders is that they have a certain lightness to them,” says Dr. Poepsel. “They’ve reconciled the fact that they can’t do it all. They can’t be everywhere at once. They can’t exclusively go, go, go all the time. Instead, they make better choices about the most important things to work on.”
With self-awareness, leaders have a better understanding of their strengths, their limits and their influence on team members. This emotional intelligence revolves less around improving the work and more around improving how leaders do the most critical work. And yet, according to Tascha Eurich, researcher and the author of Insight, while 95% of people believe they’re self-aware, just 10% to 15% actually are. (A.k.a., a significant area of opportunity.)
Flexibility can be innate for some, but it must be learned for many. From learning to have a more open mindset to learning to be more agile, developing flexibility among employees will help employers uphold stronger cultures, especially among incoming talent. “For those who are now experiencing Gen Zers in the workplace, my advice is to recognize that these new colleagues are used to working collaboratively and flexibly, with an eye to being efficient in getting the job done,” says Roberta Katz, a senior research scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), in an interview with Stanford.
Teaching flexibility meets the needs of the moment and also enables companies to shift when those needs inevitably change (again).
3. Bias detection
Diversity, equity and inclusion training is vital for organizations committed to creating an equitable workplace where all employees feel like they belong. One particular offshoot of DE&I training that’s rapidly becoming more important is bias detection.
With the increase in AI tools, there’s a pressing need for leaders and employees alike to understand how to detect bias within artificial intelligence. Whether using ChatGPT to develop website copy or leveraging AI-driven software to filter through resumes, companies would be remiss not to educate themselves on noticing bias in AI and their daily workplace interactions like emails and meetings.
4. Active listening
Doing your best work is challenging when you don’t feel listened to. In a recent survey in partnership with HR Dive, 58% of middle managers said they’re not confident their concerns are heard when they approach senior leadership about important issues. Other research also suggests that three in four managers do not listen to their employees.
Educating leaders and teams across the organization on how to actively listen could be a game-changer for getting things done and increasing morale — especially in a changing workplace environment where many organizations are a mixture of hybrid, remote and on-site employees.
5. Analytical thinking
While analytical thinking isn’t a newly desired skill, it’s increasingly seen as the most important. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report notes that analytical thinking will be one of the top in-demand skills by 2027. The report states, “Analytical thinking is considered to be a core skill by more companies than any other skill, making up, on average, 9.1% of the core skills reported by companies.”
Establishing a culture of analytical thinkers, no matter their department, can help companies yield more significant results and keep up with the competition.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget about curiosity
In a constantly changing world, it’s essential to stay curious. So it’s no wonder that curiosity also made it to the top 10 skills of 2023 in The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report.
Without curiosity, companies can get stuck in the past and lead ineffectively. In our research with HR Dive, one survey respondent lamented that “we are all stuck with how we were trained years ago by our managers … and outdated processes lead to deficiencies in managing Millennial and Gen Z employees.” Stay curious and open-minded about what needs to change, including how you train.
Make the most of leadership skills
Deploying a one-size-fits-all learning program isn’t effective. What is effective is knowing what skills leaders already possess so you can determine areas of opportunity for development. Beyond ensuring you offer the proper training, don’t forget to empower employees to take training — and give them the time to do it. Our research shows that 54% of people leaders say “a lack of time” is the primary hurdle holding middle managers back from taking advantage of training and development opportunities.
Make the most of skills development by 1) being aware of what’s needed and 2) giving the space required to fill in the gaps.
Inspire leaders in your organization
Improving company culture and employee performance starts with the right tools. With software like The Predictive Index, you can understand any employee instantly. Learn how to bring out elite performance, and get custom coaching tips to empower employees to live up to their full potential.
Learn more about The Predictive Index and how the platform can help you prioritize people and empower performance.