More than ever, effective leadership is required. From managing remote staff to adjusting to new organisational structures, leaders are failing to engage people in today’s work environment — and that disengagement has a cost.
Gallup discovered that «low engagement alone costs the global economy $7.8 trillion.» Organisations cannot afford to disregard employee engagement, especially in a tight labour market. Companies must reimagine employee engagement from the ground up.
«More than anything else, employees want to feel valued, respected, and supported,» says Chris McLean, vice president of training and worldwide master trainer at The Centre for Leadership Studies. Leaders have a vital role in making employees feel appreciated and supported, which may contribute to increased workplace engagement.
It is time for learning and development (L&D) to rethink our approach to leadership training so that we can equip leaders to effectively assist their staff — and, as a result, transform organisations. Let’s look at five secrets that can help you alter your leadership training for the modern world of work.
The Flat Organisational Structure
Hierarchical, top-down organisational systems, in which ideas, instructions (and other things) flow downhill from the C-level through management to individual employees, are becoming less popular.
Instead, cutting-edge businesses encourage leadership at all levels. This varies from business to business, or even within separate divisions within the same organisation, but a flat structure often offers a streamlined, lean hierarchy with fewer levels of administration. In a flat structure, decision-making authority is distributed among employees, and communication is more frequent. Individuals are allowed more freedom to respond to difficulties quickly, experiment with new ideas, and create more efficient systems.
However, for this to work, L&D must provide leadership skills to employees at all levels. Individual contributors must have the abilities and confidence to demonstrate leadership; for example, someone chairing a committee or driving a project will require leadership qualities to see the initiative through. Someone who does not formally lead others may find themselves at a disadvantage if unexpectedly called upon to do so.
Increase the Flow of Information
As previously stated, a flat organisation results in a multi-directional flow of information and influence. This is a good thing! However, it can be chaotic, especially if business leaders are not prepared to step in and help manage the flow.
Developing a common language of performance may help with this by not only providing individual contributors with leadership abilities, but also allowing them to interact throughout the organisation while holding themselves and their colleagues responsible.
Consider the following scenario: A marketing department releases a new product without consulting with the sales team. A lack of cross-departmental communication might leave sales personnel scurrying to describe product characteristics to potential buyers. Instead, suppose if a product rollout team was established expressly for this new product, with both sales people and marketing team members participating. This hybrid team may be managed by someone from the sales or marketing team — someone knowledgeable about the new product’s specifications but not necessary at the managerial level.
Make Employees Feel Important
staff appreciation is a great tool that may boost your staff engagement initiatives. Employees are more motivated and engaged in their work when they feel appreciated and understand how their job position relates to the company’s goals.
Leaders should interact with employees on a frequent basis to assist them realise the influence they are having on the organisation. They should also collaborate with workers to develop professional objectives and link them with learning and advancement opportunities to assist them accomplish those goals. Employees must, however, take an active part in their own growth. «Individual contributors need to own their engagement, raise their hands, and ask for what they need,» McLean adds.
Leaders and staff should collaborate to develop a workable strategy. Leaders can begin by assisting an employee in creating a skills matrix — a grid that helps visualise an individual’s ability levels in various areas. You may assist your staff design a strategy to reach where they want to go by mapping out where they are currently.
As we all know, change is the only constant in today’s world. Employee demands will continually alter as technology advances and processes or procedures change. This necessitates leaders constantly assessing workers’ talents, recognising any skill gaps, and offering the appropriate degree of help and direction at the appropriate time.
Navigating change is difficult. We are not all born with the abilities to make this happen. To succeed in changing conditions, leaders and individual contributors must be prepared with change management abilities. In a flat organisational structure, skills such as emotional intelligence, clear communication, and peer motivation are essential.
The role of the leader has evolved significantly. Leaders must evaluate workers’ emotional states as well as their skill sets. They must assist the entire individual, not simply manage processes. «People bring their whole lives to work now,» McLean adds. «Employees no longer see work as distinct from their personal lives.»
Leaders can meet individual contributors where they are by offering more flexible scheduling, remote work and learning choices, and wellness assistance. Leaders should also encourage open communication and cooperation and give workers with the skills and resources needed to make it a reality in a scattered workplace.
Organisations are today faced with an unparalleled rate of change. Strong leadership, on the other hand, might be the difference between an organization’s success and failure. L&D must seek to provide leaders with the skills they need to help workers through these turbulent times. By staying ahead of technological change with appropriate training and assistance, you can guarantee that your organisation is ready for anything the modern world of work throws at it.
A leadership model, such as the Situational Leadership® Model, may give a systematic strategy to developing leaders at all levels and departments, as well as useful metrics to track their growth. Understanding your learners’ Performance Readiness® as well as the leadership styles that may fit them can assist you in developing training that speaks directly to each individual learner.