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Following on from my posts in the previous two weeks on the Biggest Fears and the Temptations of CEOs, this week I want to address leadership development issues. CEOs often get so caught up in the “busyness” of their business that they forget to take care of these things.

This is especially important as more than half of employees plan to leave their jobs this year, according to a report quoted here in Inc. magazine recently – a real threat to businesses.

True leaders remain focused on their own development, and that of their teams, throughout their careers. They know they need to keep up with changes to markets, technology, culture and so on, to keep their strategy alive and their businesses competitive.

  1. Team Development – if you don’t plan for the ongoing development of your team they will leave. Planning for the future, and your strategy means ensuring your team has the necessary skills for that future. And it’s not just up-skilling, but cross-skills training too – sometimes a key person is not right for the next step up, but could find new excitement in a different role within the business. Sitting with your team and helping them understand where they are going within the business and how this will be good for both of you is an integral part of management.

  2. Continual Learning – often, once they reach the top, business leaders feel they’ve learnt all they need to. Wrong! In order to keep your business moving forward in a fast-changing and competitive world, leaders need to challenge and develop themselves constantly. This means reading, taking courses, attending events and/or groups that get you thinking in different ways. It’s this exposure to different, and new, stimuli that allows great leaders to keep their businesses innovating for success.

  3. Diverse Interactions – not all leaders are extroverts. In fact, some studies show that up to 70% of CEOs describe themselves as introverts, although this is likely on the high side (around half the population is). Nonetheless, while introverts might have more time for quiet reflection and creativity, which can be good for the business, interacting with other people is often difficult. Seeking out interactions with people of all levels, backgrounds and cultures is important – their perspectives and experience can lead to important insights. And, of course, younger employers (the leaders of the future) want greater levels of interaction and collaboration at work, so today’s leaders need to understand this as a part of the development planning process.

  4. Peer Group Interactions – as the adage says, “It’s lonely at the top.” Joining, and being an active member of, a peer group (sometimes known as “Mastermind” groups) is an important part of leadership development. These CEOs are typically more open-minded, willing to listen and to be held accountable. Good groups will challenge the thinking of the members, as well as helping executives find solutions to issues that are troubling them. It’s about the collective wisdom of the group and can be highly beneficial to the business.

  5. Time Out – I also covered this under Temptation #6 in “6 Temptations of a CEO.” It’s sometimes hard to see that taking time away from the business is an important part of leadership development, but it is. New surroundings, interacting with different people and removing oneself from the normal daily stresses allow time to reflect, to read and to learn. Time out generally sparks new ideas, too – how often have you returned from a break fired up with innovations? Another important part of taking Time Out is planning for regular Me Time in the office, too – the chance to reflect, read and develop.

  6. Being Human – this is an interesting one, but increasingly important. Gone are the days of “the boss knows best / everything” and dictatorial leadership. Participative leadership is key to success: listening to the views of the team (and others) and being willing to change one’s mind in the light of this. It’s about showing one’s human side, a level of what is sometimes called vulnerability. In this context, vulnerability is a strength rather than a weakness, as it encourages feedback and, thereby, greater team buy-in to ideas.

Leaders that keep developing by practicing these concepts will continue to lead successful businesses – businesses alive to market changes and new opportunities; businesses with a happy and productive team.

Change is constant. Self-development should be, too.

#BusinessFitness #Leadership #Coaching #Management #Motivation #People #Teams #Training

Some of my recent posts that might provide further input related to this topic:
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