Building bridges between gaps and giving leaders a confidence boost
Today’s leaders require a wide range of core competencies and competencies to cope in an ever-changing, economically and culturally diverse and constantly challenging environment. Companies and their learning and development teams need to identify the competencies their leaders require through skills gap analysis and then put in place a management program to develop and maintain those critical competencies.
E-learning can help bridge this competency gap. Comprehensive educational catalogs and digital assets available through an LMS or LXP provide expert opinions in a way that engages modern students. They provide a flexible resource that is available 24/7 across devices that can be implemented and reused to provide the combination of key business and soft skills that aspiring and current leaders require.
Let us examine the core competencies that leaders need and discover what makes them so essential.
7 Key competencies for managers
1. Effective communication
Good leadership is impossible without effective communication skills. Creating and selling a vision, problem solving, process implementation, people management, drive for innovation and change, all depend on effective communication. This is even more the case when the people you lead have different backgrounds with different levels of experience and can work remotely or in a different geographical region.
Clear communication promotes team building and collaboration. It is crucial to formulate your strategies and your decisions. But communication is a two-way street. While leaders need to be clear (across all media) about what they mean and want, they also need to listen.
Active listening involves responding sympathetically and demonstrating that you understand and take other voices with you. You need to be receptive as well as directive. Showing empathy for others means building trust. Trust and commitment help get your message across and mean that your plans and decisions are more likely to be implemented.
Building your leadership style
Managers need to recognize the increasing complexity of modern companies and organizations. The external context affects how they lead. The traditional, autocratic leadership of the past is no longer suitable for purposes in today’s more democratic environment, where knowledge sharing is paramount. A willingness to cooperate and openness to proposals serve leaders better than individual initiatives.
Leaders need to guide people to get the best out of them. Good leaders get the most out of the talent around them, nurture and develop individuals for mutual benefit. Leadership is a collective exercise that promotes collaboration and feedback loops to create a team that is able to meet challenges and accept responsibility. Decision and problem solving are not a person’s reservations. Leadership requires a collective responsibility, and true leaders create a cohort of people willing to take on leadership roles in projects.
3. Development of people
All leadership ideas, strategies and visions become useless if you do not have people to implement them. And it’s not just about having the numbers or relevant skills. Leaders must actively manage and develop their teams. This means understanding their needs and ambitions, encouraging their contributions and instilling a belief in what you are trying to achieve and the confidence to do so.
Managers who empower people are likely to be rewarded with greater productivity, higher quality inputs and outputs, and better staff retention. Leading others means they can realize their ambitions as well as your own.
4. Use of emotional intelligence
You cannot manage and develop people properly or actively listen to their concerns if you do not have a well-developed sense of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence promotes self-awareness and a better understanding of what drives and motivates you.
But it also means developing the ability and techniques to understand and empathize with others. Emotional intelligence teaches you to reflect on your values and where you stand, but also allows you to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to see things from their point of view.
5. Dealing with stress and conflict
It is a manager’s task to create a safe, healthy work environment so that individuals can flourish and get the job done. It is important to deal with stress and conflict effectively, which if not addressed will result in loss of valuable individuals and days worked and reduced efficiency. Conflict and stress threaten the team’s psychological health and its ability to be productive.
Effective use of emotional intelligence can also strengthen resilience that speaks against stress and conflict. That resilience will be required in times of rapid innovation and change, where there is great uncertainty and upheaval.
6. Leading innovation and change
The one security for modern business seems to be that there is no security. Rapid technological changes, not to mention the pandemic, are reminiscent of that. But if change is inevitable, we still have a choice about how we face it. The challenge is not just to manage it, but to lead it. Leaders need to be aware of the changes and not just react adequately.
Courses can teach key skills that show you how to promote innovation and actively embrace change. It is a matter of adopting the right mindset, developing the antennas to perceive change and creating a collaborative environment that encourages the sharing of ideas and the promotion of innovation. Leaders should encourage their teams to think differently and reevaluate what they do to see if they can do better. This means being aware of the latest technological tools on offer and exploring how they can be used to improve efficiency.
7. Conductive remote control
One of the major current challenges for modern leaders is how to handle remote teams. This could mean people working from home or a team of people in offices spread around the world. With teleworking, empathy and trust become even more critical. This requires relying on the same leadership skills as communication, the use of emotional intelligence, and the application of the right ways of leading. But distance brings an extra level of complexity: People are not always available for a quick word, you can not read their body language, and the binding of the team meeting is not so easy to achieve from a distance.
Artificial use of the same technology that enables teleworking can also make it easier to direct these teleworkers. Regular, scheduled downloads on apps keep communication channels open, but these need to be two-way to facilitate active listening. Make sure everyone is fluent in any new technology. Explore interactive features like polling or screen sharing to ensure participation is high, though not everyone may be in the same room.
Provides skills and competencies
As this review of competencies suggests that modern leaders require a wide range of core competencies. No single training course can deliver the breadth or depth required by learning leaders. E-learning catalogs that focus on individual skills within the broader context of management are a good starting point for the development, retraining and retraining of managers. Because as much as leaders are committed to developing others, they will not be able to do so effectively if they do not fit their own professional and personal development.
And acquiring the skills and competencies to lead is not a box-ticking exercise. Just sitting through the courses is not enough. Skills must be honed and practiced so that the learning that supports leadership development must be available where it happens – in the workflow.
You may be the leader of some experience, but you must continue to learn to lead. Leaders need to take advantage of and promote a culture of continuous learning that drives L&D to apply regular skills gap analysis and recommend learning programs and assets that bridge these gaps. With modern technology and platforms like LMSs and LXPs, training resources can be quickly acquired, created and delivered. These resources can be regularly updated and easily reused based on training needs and feedback from students.
Download the e-book Leadership training: How to equip leaders for today’s challenges and the future to prepare your leadership team for what is to come and build a successful learning culture.