How To Become The Leader Your Team Craves

How To Become The Leader Your Team Craves. Building a business through personal development. How Integrated Leadership Development helps the individual. Anna Harris and Lynne Derman weigh in. Training employees for leadership is a necessary part of business development.

Ensuring that the current leaders can do their jobs and that there are future leaders ready to take their place when they leave makes sense. Traditionally, the approach to leadership training has been in teaching people the “skills” of leadership. Making sure leaders understood financial management, strategic planning, marketing and so much more was at the forefront of business thinking.

Recently, however, this approach has changed. Repeated studies show that it is not the leaders who are most familiar with these hard skills who are getting the best results; it’s those with what were traditionally called the “soft skills” like motivation, empathy, connection, and communication. After realising the importance of these skills, companies began actively seeking ways to train their leaders to climb the consciousness ladder.

“The greatest leaders are those who are the humblest, those who give time and focus to the people they are with,” says Lynne Derman, Head of People and Talent at 21st Century, adding, “Self-awareness is the starting point. If we aren’t self-aware, then we are just blundering through.”

After many decades of study and experience, Integrated Leadership Development has begun to take off in businesses across the world. As the name suggests, this type of leadership training seeks to empower leaders with the hard skills necessary to do their jobs and, more importantly, the soft skills they need to take their teams to the next level.

Anna Harris, consultant at 21st Century, explains that this kind of training is a journey that leaders take to improve themselves and develop the skills that make them the kind of leaders who are respected for who they are, more than simply their position. “This isn’t a case of trainers walking in and saying, ‘Now we are going to fix you’. It’s a process that considers the specific needs of the individuals and organisation involved. If the organisation is serious about change and people development, it can take as much as a year,” she says.

Harris explains that following Integrated Leadership Development, the attendees are all showing development in four major areas of their personality, which in turn is leading them to report increased happiness and personal growth. Everyone has vulnerabilities and weaknesses. In the business of the past, people may have been afraid to acknowledge these weaknesses or accept suggestions for self-improvement made by others. Integrated Leadership Development unlocks leaders’ abilities to better understand where and why they are fallible, giving them target areas for personal growth while also allowing them to become more comfortable with who they are.

This, in turn, leads to better career development and personal fulfilment as leaders are able to focus on the skills they do have, rather than spending time, energy and effort hiding or deflecting from their weaknesses. “Studies on leadership have shown that those people who score themselves as being all fives on evaluations are generally the worst performers, whereas those with more of an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses tend to be the top performers,” says Derman.

Leaders who are unaware of their own strengths and weaknesses struggle to measure the performance of others, and their egos may prevent them from fully developing or assisting their team in meeting their goals. Leaders who are empowered with self-awareness and the willingness to accept their vulnerabilities have no fear of using their teams’ strengths, growing those around them, and making sacrifices for the good of their group.

“The greatest leaders are open to feedback and remain humble,” says Harris. “They don’t always know the answers. That’s normal and it sends out the message that it’s okay to be vulnerable. This gives the followers the power to acknowledge when they don’t know something and to ask for help. It ensures fewer problems occur because people are too afraid to speak up on a lack of knowledge and the team grows as weak areas are found and corrected.”

By Thomas Chiothamisi
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