Leadership skills are at the top of the list of skills that impact businesses. When more than 1,000 executives worldwide ranked 28 issues for importance during the coming year, leadership development was at the top of the list. In the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, 64 percent of executives identified developing leaders as their biggest issue. And for good reason. Effective leadership makes it possible for companies to deal with other important issues such as global competition, rapidly changing technology or skills gaps.
Quickly accelerating use of technology affects employees at all levels of a company. Employees that analyze data, make decisions, and implement changes all need to develop leadership skills that take them forward and help them bring others along. Today’s businesses need leaders at all levels, not just at the top. Leaders at all levels of a company can engage and empower co-workers.
The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 says that organization that opt to extend their development of leadership skills in employees below senior levels are 4.2 times more likely to financially out-perform those that don’t. When leadership is spread throughout a company, teams of employees have a shared sense of responsibility. They develop the autonomy to solve problems and achieve a goal. They aren’t directed or controlled by a leader ranking high above them. Leadership at every level makes it possible for employees to make decisions that impact goal achievement.
Leadership skills for today’s successful businesses go far beyond managing employees. Leadership skills today encourage employees to collaborate and innovate. These leadership skills create strong, agile businesses that can respond to changes in today’s business world.
Lead for Collaboration
It is important for today’s business leaders know how to collaborate and to create a work environment where employees work together. Mastering Leadership Development for a Digital Economy from SkillSoft and Chief Learning Officer reports that 71 percent of organizations say that collaboration and effective coaching are two leadership capabilities more important today than they were in the past. A collaborative environment encourages employees to initiate new ideas, try different approaches and share both positive and negative feedback. McKinsey & Company states, “Leadership today requires fostering an environment of shared purpose and trust, in which employees feel comfortable proffering ideas and taking risks. By encouraging collaboration and initiative, leaders empower teams to drive decision-making autonomously.”
Lead for Innovation
Business leaders have to do more than plan for and oversee company productivity and profitability. Today they have to encourage innovation in order be globally competitive. “Business survival hinges more than ever on the ability to rapidly and repeatedly innovate. With this increased focus on innovation, leaders must learn to recognize trends, identify opportunities and embrace promising ideas.”
Leaders that foster innovation will develop workers willing to take risks, able to adapt to change and comfortable with uncertainty. These employees will seek answers to problems and not be afraid to try something new. Leaders that encourage their employees to innovate will have employees who are confident in asking questions and offering new ideas.
Education benefits are the solution for developing leaders throughout a company with the skills needed for today’s businesses. Leaders with skills that encourage collaboration and innovation will empower workers and give businesses the greatest return on their investment. Leadership skills that create agile responsive organizations are the skills that will strengthen businesses to thrive in a challenging global economy.
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