What does leadership mean in today’s workplace?
As a senior leader in business today, it's important for you to have the confidence to introduce fresh thinking and build a great team. In addition to this, you need to be able to communicate like a pro, as well as develop and drive ideas through your organisation. The ability to carry out these tasks requires you to be equipped with a very special set of skills, including:
- Set the vision for the business
- Provide clarity over objectives
- Delegate power appropriately
- Inspire the team to follow your lead
- Deliver the strategy
Being a super-charged leader begins with self-awareness. Through the recognition of your own emotions, behaviour, voice, body language, thinking and habits, you will become better equipped to empathise with the people you engage with. This is known more commonly as emotional quotient, or EQ in short.
In learning to understand your own emotions, you're not only able to manage them more effectively, but you become more tuned in to the emotions of those around you. This is a key requirement of the empathetic leader, something which is now recognised as essential for team harmony, and more broadly, business success.
But where do you learn to be the leader of your team? How will you learn to recognise the right qualities in people, then motivate them to carry out your wishes? Where might you train or receive just the right coaching?
What is a leadership training programme?
Leadership training can provide you with the necessary skills that you need to respond to the challenges that will arise throughout the course of your role. Often, those challenges will be hard to anticipate, and can not only compromise your position as a leader, but the objectives that you are seeking to achieve.
A leadership training programme can often be tailored to your level of expertise. This will ensure that maximum effectiveness can be achieved in the (often precious) timescale you are working to.
The methods used by leadership training programme professionals would typically be:
- Training - learning new techniques and skills
- Coaching - improving what you already know
- Support - providing additional help and resources
- Facilitation - independently guiding you and your team
The two most commonly confused with one another are training and coaching. The fundamental difference between them is that training is the transfer of knowledge or skills from one individual to another, where coaching is the enhancement of existing skills, usually by a professional who specialises in their field of expertise.
What are the objectives of leadership training?
Many leaders today find themselves in the role of MD or CEO almost by accident. For example, being given the position of running a family business. Others might do so because they've deliberately climbed a career ladder with the specific intention of becoming the chief exec.
Regardless of how you might have got to where you are now, it's inevitably a tough gig, and preparing for it may not have been as thorough as you'd have liked.
Typical challenges experienced by leaders include:
- Leadership can be a very lonely role
- Uncertainty about how to actually lead
- You suffer from doubt, insecurity, fear, stress and anxiety
- Frustration with people and teams is common
- Lack of understanding as to what a leader's role is
A leadership training programme can help you understand why you experience such challenges, and teach you better mechanisms to cope. External training, coaching or facilitation can be pivotal in providing leadership support for both new and established leaders in their role.
What will you learn from a leadership training programme?
It's difficult and challenging to lead a business, and knowing that you're constantly under the spotlight as the boss. It's unnerving.
If you're already in a leadership position, such as Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, founder or owner, you've most likely picked up a number of the key leader skills already. However, it's common for leaders to have missed many.
Regardless of whether you've been leading people for 10 years or 10 days, a leadership training programme can help you to learn the necessary skills that are missing from your toolbox. In fact, it's possible that it could be a career turning point.
By undertaking leadership training, you can improve many aspects of your expertise, including:
- Build the confidence to be a better leader
- Improve your knowledge and wisdom
- Extend the range of skills to manage people
- Empower you to be more strategic
- Give you the vision you need to lead your team
- Immerse you amongst other leaders
- Share experiences and network with your peers
- Learn to be more empathetic
- Discover essential communication skills
- Prepare for new talent and plan for succession
What are the main leadership styles?
Here we outline the 4 main styles of leadership.
This leadership style, as the name implies, is given to those that make all the decisions. What the autocratic leader says is final. There is likely to be very little input from others in the organisation, despite their role or position. This leader knows what she wants and will strive to achieve it through single-minded decision making.
Whilst it will inevitably render the contributions of other staff members as largely invalid, it can be useful where time is critical and decisiveness is the order of the day.
This style of leadership occupies the middle ground between Autocratic and Lassaiz-Faire Leadership (see below). With a good amount of day-to-day involvement in team activity, the Democratic Leader will observe and listen to other's input. However, they will typically make the final decision based on that input themselves.
The benefit is wider team inclusion in the making of high-level decisions, but this comes at the cost of the time it takes to process the input.
The Lassaiz-Faire style of leadership is one that sees the decisions being made by the team. The leader has sufficient trust in his people that power is devolved from him to them.
The meaning behind Lassiaz-Faire leadership stems from French term 'hands-off'. The team benefits from a greater sense of involvement and agile decision-making at department level. The obvious risk comes from the fact that the leader is somewhat removed from day-to-day decision making.
This type of leadership style is one where the communication of a vision is used to motivate your team. By setting an inspiring objective, the workforce is enthused in a way that encourages them to get behind a project or strategy to achieve a shared goal.
Transactional Leadership might also be used as a way of highlighting independent achievements via a reward. For example, by compensating a member of the team because they've completed their project ahead of schedule. This style of leadership can inspire others to improve their own activities so that they might be rewarded, and in doing so, inspires wider team activity.
The disadvantage of a Transactional Leadership style is that those who seldom exceed targets are demotivated. This can act as a negative signal to others and may result in conflict or toxicity if not addressed.
There are many more leadership styles than those we've covered here. It's not even that important to know your own style, as long as you are aware of the effect of how you interact with your team, and how that translates into results.
Being a leader demands that you are resilient enough to adapt your style to suit the needs of your people, the product or service you provide, and the needs of the market in which you operate. Through engaging in a Leadership Training programme, you can improve your leadership style by strengthening those areas of your expertise that are lacking, or adding to your existing skill set.