Adapting your leadership abilities is necessary for creating a positive impact in your leadership role for 2023 and here is why.
What are the Current Leadership Challenges?
Current reports on what is keeping CEOs and leadership up at night , point to the following top concerns:
- Attracting and retaining top talent
- Developing the next leaders
- Maintaining an engaged workforce
Interestingly, these top 3 challenges all relate to how leaders are interacting with and growing their team members. While there have been many layoffs, the search for people with the required expertise and leadership abilities is still very competitive. Many people will no longer work for or engage with leadership that takes traditional approaches. They are looking for leaders who are transparent, who are not threatened by their ideas or by change, who can provide meaningful growth and development opportunities, who have a dialogue with them and listen, who demonstrate empathy, and more. This is a tall task for a leader that has not done their own growth and development. It requires learning and a growth mindset.
When you think about it, if you don’t have enough people with the right leadership abilities, you will have a revolving door, you will likely have a reputation of not having a great organizational culture, there will be more burnout, you top team members will be taking much time interviewing, onboarding, dealing with team dynamics that are impacted when people leave and new people come onboard. There is much more at stake than finances. There is lost time, energy, and opportunity.
When you have leaders practicing the leadership abilities required in current times, you are much more likely to have less turnover, a great reputation that attracts the right people with the required expertise and leadership abilities, and better outcomes and bottom-line returns.
This can no longer be ignored, seen as a nice-to-have, or labelled as soft and fuzzy. This is what it takes for the survival and relevance of your organization.
What are Leadership Abilities?
Leadership abilities include leadership capabilities, competencies, and skills and cover how you are actually practicing these as a leader. How you show leadership starts with who you are – your values and purpose, the level of trust you consistently create and nurture, and your demonstration of open communication, listening and curiosity, providing meaningful work for engagement and growth, skillfully coaching through challenges and opportunities, finding a positive path forward in tricky situations, and taking space for self-care and the related strategic thinking and creativity.
When we are ego-based and focused on winning or defending, our leadership will land flat. When the ego is driving the culture, this is where we see people resigning, when they don’t feel seen, heard or respected. When we are solid within ourselves as leaders and focused on practicing our leadership abilities through the lenses of higher-level values, we are coming from a strong leadership foundation which supports us to create trust, build relationships, collaborate, find shared purpose and direction, and make a positive difference, where people feel heard, respected and want to engage, share ideas, collaborate, and be part of moving the purpose of the organization forward. This is what our Positive Impact Leadership programs are all about.
Key Leadership Abilities Required for 2023 and Beyond
- Lead from Your Values: Be solid within yourself and lead from your values and related strengths. There’s the saying, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” To lead, we need to get out of our own way. We need to get out of the fear-based side of our brain. We need to focus on what is possible and on how to change challenges into learning or new opportunities. This requires Mental Fitness. We provide mental fitness as part of the majority of our Executive Coaching Packages and Leadership Programs.
- Foster Psychological Safety. “Google researchers found that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re rated as effective twice as often by executives.” Psychological safety as defined by Amy Emundson is “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” This allows them to share ideas openly, respectfully challenge each other’s ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback that will support better outcomes.
- Deep listening. When people don’t feel heard, they can stop sharing what’s happening for them, stop thinking of new ideas and information that could be important or helpful, lose motivation, and disengage. This leads to lost opportunities for all involved, low levels of well-being, and burnout.
- Empathy. Simply put, empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Often we do this with family, friends, and external stakeholders. Often, we do not extend this to others whom we work with or for or who report to us. Instead, there can be more judgment or misplace expectations rather than truly trying to understand what is important to and going on with the other person. This does not support collaboration or collective forward-thinking or action.
- Curiosity. When somebody shares something with us as we deeply listen without judgment, we can then lean into curiosity. What is it that the other person is getting at? What is important to them about it? How can it support success? What might you add to the conversation? This provides more information to all parties involved which garners greater understanding, new insights and mutually beneficial ideas, innovation.
- Leading with the future impact in mind – impact on self, others, stakeholders, users of services and products, and ecology. If we are simply checking boxes on lists or running from meeting to meeting, we are not creating the space to think bigger picture asking ourselves what are we doing, why, what impact is it having, what impact do I have, and how can I make the impact that I want to make through reflection and iterative learning and experimentation along the way.
- Taking a consultative and collaborative approach. “If you want to go fast, go alone; If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb Collaboration is an imperative leadership ability today and beyond. All of the previous leadership abilities mentioned support collaboration.
- Get in clearly aligned action with what has come out of the collaboration. Ensure the right processes are in place. Ensure people are clear on the expectations. Allow them leeway to grow and develop and, at the same time, have clear check-in points and coaching sessions. Provide feedback about what is going well and what could be refined.
Rate your skills
If you are not already taking the above-outlined approaches, how did they resonate with you?
A quick exercise would be to rate where you think you are currently at with the practice of the above leadership abilities. Rate each on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “I’m aware but not practicing this.” to 5 “I am practicing this consistently and masterfully”. Which areas are you strong in? Which ones could you use some support with? Choose one to hone in on and create your next step or two toward developing this leadership ability further. And, then, act on them, reflect on your actions, and hone your ability for the next iteration from your successes and learnings.
2023 is proving to be a year with a focus on people. For leaders, this includes your current team, the team members you want to attract, team and talent retention, growth and development of team members, and leading with the heart. There’s no longer a choice except to adapt and act to create the stability and outcomes that you seek. Are you up for the challenge? You can learn the required leadership abilities. All that you need to start is a willingness to learn. We can help you through Executive & Leadership Packages or Leadership Programs. Set up a complimentary 30-minute Exploration Call with me to explore this further
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the changing leadership landscape we are seeing across organizations. Would you add to the list of leadership abilities?
Yours in learning and adapting