Jo Jeffries

Leadership 2023

Leadership And The Workforce – 2023 Hurdles And Opportunities

The coming year is shaping up to be very different from previous years as far as workplaces are concerned. The challenges of hybrid working or full WFH, coupled with advances in AI and other big tech plus global skill shortages, loom ever closer on the horizon. Factor in the global economic downturn, higher energy costs, rising inflation and squeezed budgets too. What this all means is that the need for effective leadership in 2023 which engages fully with the existing workforce has never been more important.

The Rise of AI in Addressing Talent Shortages

Supply chain issues and economic uncertainty will continue to hinder the hiring process for many businesses. It is possible that rather than try to hire new talent, businesses may have to instead reorganise and/or re-train their current workforce. They can do so to fill skill gaps and meet growing demand. To this end, the accelerated adoption of AI and machine learning will become the norm. Data sharing, digital technologies and smart algorithms will become part of the automation of end-to-end processes across multiple agencies. 

Data Breaches May Become a Bigger Problem

Cybersecurity will continue to become even more crucial in 2023. However, cybersecurity specialist recruiters report an estimated 3.1 million positions waiting to be filled globally. Therefore, the hiring and retention of cyber talent is bound to become ever more competitive. This is particularly within the public sector.

According to statistics from gov.uk, 39% of UK businesses reported a cyber-attack in 2022. These are mainly from denial of service, ransomware or phishing attempts. This was down slightly from 2021 when 41% of cyber attacks on UK businesses were successful.

The sheer scale of attacks coupled with the cybersecurity skills gap means not only that companies are going to have to look at offering new recruits and existing staff greater incentives to join or stay but also that team leaders and managers must up their game to prevent the steady leaching of talent by improving working conditions and by fully engaging, developing and leading more effectively the workforce they have and the talent they need to recruit.

Diversity Will Become Essential

It is clear that as the cybersecurity skills gap is steadily increasing the onus must be on training, recruiting and retention of staff in this area. Plus, accelerating training programs throughout the education and higher education systems. Training of the current workforce must trickle down to junior level as well. This is in order for managers and leaders to better understand the capabilities of existing workers and how these can be quickly deployed into different areas of the business as needed. What is clear also is that workers must be encouraged to develop diverse skills such as design, marketing, communication and even psychology. That way, they can support businesses in staying ahead of rivals and threats from cyber-attacks.

Working From Home Will Present the Greatest Challenge for Leadership in 2023

As home and office morph into one and the same, this will present problems. Issues surround not only around data security and employee motivation but also effective leadership and the potential for burnout.

Leaders dealing with the coming challenges must remember to lead themselves by practising self-care. They must also create a good example of sound leadership.

Leadership development strategies

Leadership Development – Strategies to Consider

You might think that being a leader comes naturally and that the way it happens has been the same forever. Yet times have changed. Developing leadership skills throughout the company will reap benefits for you and your organisation.

Why Leadership Development Strategies Are Beneficial

A leadership development strategy is a place to start. Our guide to strategies will help you set a framework you can follow to set up your leadership development process. Be flexible to adapt to your business needs and nuances. Then you can find a strategic approach that suits how you want things to work. 

Leadership development strategies are underpinned by knowing your business challenges. As a leader, ask what the most significant challenges the business will likely face in the next few years. What is the most worrying thing the business faces? How can new leadership and management skills help? What skills are likely essential for your leaders to know and implement? And, how do their current skills match up? Don’t be afraid to consider business coaching and mentoring. This can help grow skills and strategies, whether you are the boss or a leader.

Do more than assess training needs

Of course, knowing what qualities you have onboard will help. However, discussing with your team to identify the implications for leadership development is essential and somewhat tricky. Work through your business objectives and hone in on the specific skills your leaders need to develop to achieve your aims.

If you have a leadership development team, have them create a vision statement for future accomplishments. It should show current and future courses of action to give clear direction and inspiration to inform action planning and goal setting. If you don’t have a team, it can still be achieved. Leaders can set about developing measures and action plans for each specific goal. They can track progress with critical metrics that work across the processes.

Set up a leadership competency model to align your leadership programs and processes. Identify what the perfect leader must know and be able to do and what training they may require to succeed.

Getting Feedback

Once you have your findings laid out, it’s time to present them and get feedback. Review with executives, and show them what you heard and your proposed response. Ask for the help you need, and be prepared to verify and modify. Once you have them onboard and committed, put plans in place to get the resources required and involve those who can make it happen. If you can give specifics to each of the executives and CEO, you will show you believe in what you are proposing and have your closure prepared and ready for a quick move.

Also, brush up on the skills required to be recognised as an authentic leader, show your commitment to your organisation and improve job satisfaction and workplace happiness to get the best out of your team. Being motivated, strategic and relevant is key to developing an effective leadership development strategy that will serve you and the business well. Remember that as times and technology change, there is always a reason to review and update processes to remain on top.

future proof your career leadership training

How to become an authentic leader

Whether you are new to a leadership position or have been a team leader for several years, it can sometimes be difficult to work out exactly what being a good, authentic leader might mean. It is all too easy to fall back on the assumption that an authentic leader is someone who is confident, assertive and inspirational. Research suggests that authentic leadership is something that serves as an indicator of organisational commitment. Plus, employee job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. For any leader who wants to get the best out of their team, it is vital that they show their authenticity as a leader. 

Authentic leadership 

This is a management style where leaders are self-aware, genuine and, above all, transparent. An authentic leader is one who inspires trust and loyalty. They do so by displaying their own genuine personality and how they feel about the performance of their employees. 

Improving your authenticity

There are four elements of Authentic Leadership Theory. These are:

Self-awareness 

It is critical for a leader to have a strong sense of their own strengths, weaknesses, values and their own self. When a leader understands their own strengths, they demonstrate to their team that there is nothing to hide. This creates trust within the team. Being self-aware also allows a leader to grow as a person. Plus, it helps to strengthen other skills in order to do the best job possible. It is not a weakness to be able to admit when something wasn’t done to the best of your abilities. 

Relational transparency

Subtle messaging, passive aggression and feedback that is convoluted. These are all things that have no place in leadership. If a leader wants to be truly authentic, then they need to be genuine, honest and straightforward. Let them know when there have been mistakes. Also, tell them when they have done a good job. This will help a team to be successful. What a team need to see in their leader is the type of behaviour that the leader wants to see from them. Leading by example is really important.

Balanced processing

A good leader needs to be able to make decisions, and then remain true to their decisions even when there is opposition. When it comes to important decisions, it is important to seek alternative opinions. Plus, ensure that you are open to discussions. If you want to be a really authentic leader, then it is important that you make an environment where employees feel encouraged and safe when it comes to their opinions. This links back to self-awareness. You need to be sufficiently self-aware in order to accept that your opinion may not be complete. When you collect feedback from others you will be able to identify possible weaknesses in your own argument. 

Internalised moral perspective or the ability to “Do the right thing”

Putting the needs of the company and customers first is of paramount importance. An authentic leader needs to focus on doing the right thing to achieve long-term success. Integrity and strong ethical values are important, and an authentic leader should not be tempted to take shortcuts. 

mental health tips

Mental health tips for balanced leaders

A good leader has a lot to think about from one day to the next, but self-care is essential. After all, if they want to continue performing to their best for their team, then they need to make sure that they are making time for themselves. Finding time can often be difficult. However, when you don’t prioritise your own mental health, then you are likely to find yourself facing burnout. Here are some mental health tips for leaders to keep your mental health in tip-top shape. 

Work with a therapist

It doesn’t matter what position a professional is working in, having a safe space in which they can discuss any worrisome issues. This is someone who is outside the situation and can offer unbiased advice, and that is what can help you to maintain a good balance in your life. 

Take time to disengage

You should ensure that you take time every day to disconnect yourself from the events of the day. This is something you should also remind your employees to do as well. This might be done by having specific screen hours for your technology. Or, taking a walk, spending family time or reading a book. 

Make time for your own self-care

If you don’t prioritise your own self-care, then you cannot support the well-being of those around you. Create some space for yourself through healthy eating habits, mindfulness and personal fitness.  

Put everything into perspective

You control the pressure you are feeling. Therefore, you need to be able to put that into perspective. Try and find something that is important to you in order to give you the focus you need to do this.

Build wellness into the culture of your company

If you want wellness to be inbuilt into the culture of your company, then start at the top and work from there. The example you show is very well one that your employees will follow. If they don’t see you taking breaks, then they will feel like they can’t take them either. Make sure that these are things they see as part of the normal working environment around them. You will all benefit from this. 

Practise de-escalation techniques

Make sure that you are using and teaching your employees all about the de-escalation techniques that they could be using when something upsets them. This is a really simple technique that involves taking a deep breath and exhaling and not doing the thing that is upsetting you. It should be repeated three times. 

First lead yourself

It is important that every leader learns to lead themselves first. When it comes to the pressures associated with the business, it is important first to identify any organizational and personal non-negotiables. You should make sure that you establish some clear boundaries around your responsibilities and your time so that you can help to move your company forward in a nurturing manner. 

Final words on mental health tips for leaders

Hopefully, you’ve found our mental health tips for leaders useful. However, if you feel you’re heading towards burnout, it might be best speaking to a medical professional for assistance with your mental health.

future proof your career leadership training

The Benefits and Limitations of Leadership Training

In the UK, a huge amount of money is spent by companies, large and small, on leadership training. Globally leadership and management training is thriving, with some $356 billion estimated to be spent in a single year (2015), including around £45 billion in the UK alone and this figure is sure to keep on rising. But are companies getting a good return on their investment, and is it paying off in terms of productivity and success?

The Barriers to Success

In surveys, many senior managers have said that training appears to have only a short-term benefit. Leadership training programmes are undoubtedly a force for good in most cases and particularly where leaders understand the importance of clear, concise and regular communication, as emphasised by experienced mentoring companies like Eric Land Mentoring, leaders in the field of guiding businesses to success through training, mentorship and upskilling.

In the early days of a leadership training course, participants usually gain plenty of benefits and insight, which enables them to work better with colleagues and establish new objectives for their organisation going forward. Unfortunately, this initial surge is too often short-lived as managers and staff settle back into old routines and entrenched attitudes.

It becomes clear what the barriers are to effecting permanent change for the better in companies struggling to achieve their full potential, and the most common ones are:

  • An unclear direction on strategy and achievement goals
  • A lack of teamwork among senior executives and leaders
  • A reluctance by senior managers to change direction or acknowledge their own failings
  • A reluctance by employees to point out to senior managers the obstacles standing in the way of effective operation

How Leadership Training Can Overcome Barriers to Enable Permanent Change

The most effective leadership training aims to improve individual development and organisational redesign and development in tandem with an emphasis on senior and lower level managers developing and evolving on the job as it were, teaching the art of continual learning in order to adapt to changing circumstances whenever they occur.

A vital part of leadership training is helping managers and senior executives to understand what behaviours and practices are expected of them and particularly in terms of how to set out a clear path to success for their organisation, including the hiring and development of new and existing talent within the company.

Managers can learn to understand the importance of looking for skills gaps within their staff as well as spotting underused employees who could be better employed elsewhere in the organisation with the help of further training and education.

As pointed out earlier, through leadership training, managers could learn the benefits of better communication with company employees and colleagues in order to gain insights into how the organisation is performing, what could be changed or improved and how day-to-day coaching and mentoring could help facilitate new strategies and values on the way to success all across the board. 

future proof your career leadership training

4 People Skills You Need To Future-Proof Your Career

When it comes to getting on at work and progressing your career, you will most definitely need to have some essential people skills, as well as being good at what you do.

The technical skills you have and must continue to update to stay ahead in the game are, of course, relevant to how effectively you future-proof your career. Yet, these skills are increasingly shrinking in shelf-life and are becoming less relevant to a person’s ability to impact a business. Updating technical skills is deemed essential; therefore, its significance in future-proofing your career is becoming surpassed by the need to have the right people skills.

Technology will never be able to effectively or entirely replace the people skills that drive businesses forward. People skills help individuals be more dynamic and connected when they communicate with empathy and offer strategies, creativity and critical thinking that technology can not bring. People skills are important, and those that demonstrate high people skills will have the coveted qualities increasingly in demand by employers. Hiring or upskilling employees is now more a focus than existing technology knowledge, as businesses seek to employ or create individuals that can contribute directly and be innovative for the future.

Top skills you should work on to future-proof your career

Become an expert

You must know your stuff. Apply critical thinking to the complexities of your work and create new solutions by identifying manageable components that evolve as the business environment changes. Show your employer you can use initiative to solve existing and new problems and have different ways and approaches to resolve issues. Show you can make changes that enhance value, and you have the skills for rapid experimentation and critical thinking to bring results to fruition.

Sharpen your digital footprint

You should be discoverable, so enhancing your digital footprint (the story of your career) is always a good idea. You may not need it now, but it will be there when you do., Sharpen your presentation and communication skills to deliver an engaging message and visuals that connect you with your audience, like-minded individuals, and potential job opportunities. Build up your career presence in a clear, concise and inclusive jargon-free tone. This can be done by writing compelling content and sharing best practices or meaningful articles highlighting your interests, abilities and activities.

Be a mentor and expand your network

Being able to mentor and be mentored are important personal skills that show you can learn, teach and guide or be guided. These skills require active listening and coaching skills, honing your ability to use collaborative influence to inspire people and have allies that you can work with and alongside shows you are adaptable and able to work with a diverse range of people as well as alone. 

Develop a continuous learning mindset

Whilst business challenges remain similar, the way we solve them is constantly evolving. Whether it’s through integrating new technology, new people or many other business demands, it’s essential to future-proof your career by adopting a continuous learning mindset. Workplaces are becoming ever more agile, and adapting to agile working will validate your ability to learn and deal with changing priorities and workloads while learning new skills in a calm, persistent way even in the face of difficulties will give you a strong future within your career.