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Leading With Agility

9 Leadership Skills Managers in Complex Workplaces Must Get from Leadership Training

In today’s business climate, leadership abilities are essential for success. In a changing world with increasing complexity and specialization we must adapt. Leaders have a huge duty to make sense of the complicated environment we live in.

As a result, leaders will need to learn skills beyond being charismatic or well-spoken. They need people leadership, leadership agility, and great communication skills.

These leadership skills will give you the ability to manage your teams better, harbor a positive environment for relationship building within your team, and boost employee engagement.

To be an effective leader, you must proactively integrate these 9 leadership skills. Read on to find out how.

9 Skills for Managers in Complex Workplaces
9 Skills for Managers in Complex Workplaces

1. Conversations With Community of Leaders: What are Other Leaders Doing and Concerned About?

The first step in being an excellent leader is to be aware of the ways that other executives and managers are growing. Right now, business leaders are talking about the strategic thinking that grows those in management positions to be the best leaders. Leadership effectiveness is correlated to someone’s ability to be a visionary leader. These leaders tend to have communication abilities and great people management skills.

In my blog “Why Agile Leaders Need To Be Master Strategists And Three Ways To Get Started” there is a subtle importance and value of thinking about problems before rushing a solution. What better way to learn than to hear from leaders on the ground, solving real diverse business issues?

2. Change Management: Thriving in the VUCA World

Secondly, the VUCA (an acronym for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world is one in which organizations are pressured to react to new or dramatic changes with greater alacrity than ever before.

In this environment, leaders must master skills that help them navigate with ease through their organizations to achieve better results faster. We’ve all become aware of how disorienting reality can be in these past few years. This is especially true when many organizations are driving some form of culture change, digital transformation, or agile adaptation. Given this climate, it is not enough to simply acquire the processes and checklists, but to seriously think about how you are going to drive change as a leader.

The response of a leader to this challenging reality is crucial. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How can I orient this volatile change to vision?
  • How can I reframe this uncertainty to turn it into opportunity?
  • How can I capitalize on this complexity to provide clarity?
  • How can I foster this ambiguity into agility for my career growth and my team building?

Creating these strong leadership skills means having a broader and fresher perspective. Difficulties will always arise within your organization. A great leader approaches the VUCA world with a positive attitude. Responding strategically and managing change is an integral leadership skill all effective leaders need to gain.

In my book, 8 Paradoxes of Leadership Agility, I share a powerful coaching framework that will invite new perspectives, increasing your agility and thereby, gaining the skills needed. Be sure to check it out.

3. Agile Mindset: The Differentiator in Leadership in a VUCA World

The last aspect of reacting to this ambiguity in the VUCA world is to focus on the leadership skill of agility.

In my article, “Build Back Better: How Leaders Can Build A Better, More Equal Future In An Agile Way” I explained the importance of team leaders being flexible with their leadership styles. This is important as the success of a leader is derived from the performance of teams, so one of the most important leadership qualities is to be able to adapt and connect with a diverse range of stakeholders. It is no longer adequate to rely on one style.

Be able to meet your team members where they are. The more you are able to understand your team members, the more you are able to influence their thinking, reasoning, and thereafter, foster their growth and help them develop skills for greater performance. That will be your meaningful leadership impact on them.

Understandably, you want to avoid employee conflicts in an already disrupted business world filled with diverse challenges. Employee differences can create strain in workplace relationships and productivity. Agile leadership means being quick to spot the difference, recognizing what is needed to close the gap, and taking decisive, strategic action. It means finding a way to work together so that collectively, you succeed as a team. In that very process, each of your employees gains valuable skills and insights and transforms into a successful leader. The ability to do the above starts with your mindset. So be a critical thinker and train yourself to be able to shift and flex your leadership approach.

Discover our proven 3-step process that will help you develop the agile mindset incrementally for exponential impact.

Check out the 500 Agile Leaders Program.

4. Engage Your Employees: Shouldering the Responsibility to Nurture and Retain Talent

Great leadership is understanding that your role requires much more responsibility. Not only are you required to be in a management position, but you are also now responsible for your employees’ development and success. Focus on their leadership skills. Is your team full of strategic thinkers? Or born leaders? They may have some soft skills, but a large part of your job will be developing leadership skills for them so that they are future-ready.

To develop them, first, you’ll need to engage them. How can you use delegation as a means to learn industry-specific skills and to create ownership if you have no idea what is meaningful for them? When you place employee engagement above results and bottom lines, you will be able to engage your team more effectively.

Take time to get to know your employees. Know which skills they would like to develop and what work experiences they want to gain. In doing so, you will be able to nurture buy-in and loyalty organically. This is the essence of human-centered leadership. Good leaders know that putting people above the work will increase ownership, productivity, and profitability. Overall, you will get more satisfied employees who perform better.

5. Develop Your Team Members: Setting the Stage Right for Sustainable Growth

Good leadership skills include engaging and developing your employees. Now that you’ve engaged them, how do you develop them? Here are four ways to develop your employees’ leadership skills (which in turn will increase your impact):

a. Foster a supportive, collaborative, and trusting environment

You are responsible for team and relationship building. Make sure that you’ve created psychological safety and safe space for your employees. This will encourage them to speak up and ask questions that are essential to helping them grow professionally.

b. Provide the right training programs and opportunities

This helps your employees improve their skillset and their role within the company. Part of being an agile leader is understanding your team’s needs. Understand exactly what areas they need your leadership skills and be prepared to meet them, however different they are within your team.

c. Allow time for self-reflection for personal growth

Help your team members to own and understand their leadership styles. This will inspire them to want to grow even more in their leadership skills. While there are many leadership profiling instruments out there in the market, the one I have found highly effective for leaders globally is the strengths-and-values-centered approach. By leveraging CliftonStrengths and a firm grasp of values, leaders can become comfortable and at ease with their own styles, thereby maximizing their resilience in the VUCA world. For personal growth to happen, you need to create space for them to understand themselves. This will help them realize their leadership potential sooner.

d. Allow your team members to lean into their own leadership styles

When you’re giving them ownership and engaging them, you can shape them to have strong leadership skills that are different from yours. Allow them to take ownership in their professional development. One pitfall of leadership is to expect other leaders to be like you. In a disrupted way, there is no longer just one way to lead effectively. Diversity in your leadership teams is a strength, so harness that.

6. Make Conflicts Constructive: Harnessing the Benefits of Differences

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. Great leadership means not avoiding conflict. Successful leaders are proactive in developing these conflict strategies and leadership skills in their professional (and personal) life.

Here are some effective leadership skills when it comes to turning conflict into constructive debates:

  • Encourage honest and clear communication
  • Proactive conversations and regular employee check-ins.
  • Active listening
  • Thinking critically so that you ask the right questions
  • Seek to understand with empathy
  • Flexibility and resilience
  • Humility

Successful leaders recognize conflict early and deal with it. They do not let conflict escalate and allow issues to fester. Use these key skills before, during, and after the conflict. Good leaders understand that their leadership position doesn’t mean that they’re right, and do what is needed to ensure their team members are heard.

Don’t be afraid to mediate conflict between your team members either. Role modeling is an important leadership skill. As you mediate conflict, you are also showing your team how they can create a positive environment while having healthy disagreements.

7. Communicate with Impact: Learning to Have Effective Human-to-Human Conversations

All leadership roles require effective communication. One of the most important leadership skills, effective communication includes everything we mentioned in handling conflict and more.

Communication, however, is not a one-way street. Observe and notice what is happening in others as you interact with them. When you build self-reflection into your day-to-day routine, you will discover many opportunities for you to improve your communication skills rapidly. Ask for feedback and suggestions from your stakeholders. In ACESENCE’s coaching program, communicating with impact is a key leadership skill that many senior leaders want to hone.

Great communication skills will go a long way – in the boardroom, at a high-stake interview, engaging the media, etc. Prepare yourself and your future leaders by engaging them in high-quality training and providing mentorship opportunities targeted towards improving those skills now.

One of the traps leaders fall into is being led to believe that there is only one style of good communication. Increasingly, I am noticing that good communication skills only arise when you accept yourself fully. That is also why leaning into your unique leadership style is all the more important. If you are faking it, it’s difficult to make it. Don’t be afraid to show up authentically because all effective human-to-human conversations start with being human. Be discerning and utilize the right leadership training that will help you show up confidently.

8. People Leadership: Transitioning from Individual Contributor to People Leader

How well you lead people determines how effective you are as a leader. Good leaders know how to unite hearts and minds. They create a compelling vision so that people want to go on a journey alongside them.

So many leadership skills fall under this umbrella, but one of the most important skills to consider is inspiring a shared vision. Agile leaders facilitate the personalization of an organization’s vision, inspiring their people to go above and beyond. Agile leaders do this by getting to understanding people who they work with – what inspires them, what excites them, and where they want to grow in their careers.

It’s not just about the organization’s vision. It’s co-creating and discovering a way for individual dreams to stay alive while bringing a collective vision to life.

9. Become a Strategist: Achieving Better Results Without Working Harder

Becoming an agile leader with incredible leadership skills means elevating your strategy. Like I talked about with learning from business leaders are concerned about, good leaders are thoughtful about the limited resources. They care about the success of their team and the problems they are facing. In a world with diminishing resources and increasing demand, you need to become a strategist.

This means identifying areas where you can optimize so that your team works more efficiently. The amount of time spent on removing roadblocks or dealing with conflict should be reduced be minimal. Being a strategist also means thinking more out of the box, maintaining the adventurous spirit, and discovering new ways to maximize your collective impact while not having to work harder. Fully leverage the talent in your team and create better ways of working. With the focus on mental wellbeing, you can do your part as a people leader by being a bold strategist who makes the future of work better than it was before.

Leadership Training to Develop These Leadership Skills and Uncover The Best Leader in You

Great leaders use these 9 leadership skills and strategies to foster exponential growth in their organizations. Great leadership is also not built in a day. Start preparing yourself and your organization now. Be discerning, be wise and choose the best corporate training that will help you develop these essential leadership skills to thrive and make an impact in the future.

Looking for Agile Leadership Training?

Take advantage of Chuen Chuen’s extensive experience coaching leaders worldwide and her deep expertise in designing agile leadership corporate training solutions for your teams. No matter which stage of leadership you are at, we can partner with you and meet your business needs. Explore our executive coaching programs, corporate training courses, or hire Chuen Chuen as your speaker so that your organization will become agile, adaptive and future-resilient.

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