I reflect back on the challenges our clients have asked us to help with in 2014, and identify the most pressing needs in 2015.
We have spent much of 2014 helping to develop and retain senior talent, build greater levels of team-working and step up core communication and business development skills. We are certainly seeing growth in the UK economy – but confidence is not as high as it might be. As confidence increases, here are the 4 themes that I believe businesses should invest in during 2015:
Developing Leadership “Personality” – during times of uncertainty and change (or the VUCA world, as some call it) the personality traits and social skills required to be a successful change leader need to be identified and developed much more rigorously – especially at senior level. A level of honesty is needed to acknowledge that in the financial services and professional services sectors, many of those in authority are not agile leaders, and this has to change very quickly. I believe more targeted leadership skills coaching, using quality psychometrics to identify and measure behavioural change, is an essential development need in these sectors.
Improving EQ – it is now widely acknowledged that developing EQ is core to improving leadership skills. It is hugely under developed in many sections of the workforce today, and is arguably the catalyst for improving our economic and social well being. Let’s start using EQ more openly as the focus for leadership development. Talent Programmes must improve social skills such as Empathy, Resilience, Humility, Emotional Expression, Independence in order to help today’s leaders become much more agile.
Better Communication Skills – greater Clarity, Brevity and Impact is required at all levels. Leaders need help to develop better listening skills, understand how to engage authentically, and identify and communicate their “INTENT” or “PURPOSE” more clearly and with greater impact. Practical communication skills coaching for senior leaders is required, not just “word in ear” advice.
Keeping things Simple – there is too much noise, too many processes, too much traffic and not enough trust and empowerment at the operational levels. This is a core leadership responsibility which often sits within HR. Difficult conversations need to happen, not be avoided. Out of date management practices and models need to change. Leaders within HR need to be empowered to step up, stop analysing the problem, and start leading the change.
As we enter the final stretch before Christmas, typically we work harder and stay later. I hope you can all stay fit and healthy during what can be a stressful time, and enjoy the festive season.