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On Leadership: Invest in tomorrow’s leaders today


I recently had the opportunity to sit down with some of our team members for a report-out on leadership training they’d received over the last year. I listened intently as one individual described some positive breakthrough moments in the training that had helped her grow. As she reflected on the experience, I became even more convinced that continued training and development in team members is not just a good idea but a critical investment.

Organizations must evolve if they wish to retain their workforce and ensure a successful talent pipeline. The massive disruptions we’ve faced in the last few years have not only created upheaval for teams and leaders, but handed them a whole new set of challenges. 

While it is always important to develop your teams, providing training and professional development of all types will be necessary for success in a rapidly changing business climate. Adopting various agile strategies will be key. Investing in your team is a critical part of that evolution.

“The best thing you can do for managers in 2022 is to develop them for the environment they face,” says a recent Gallup article called “What Leaders Should Focus on in 2022.” 

Providing basic training on your team members’ specific job functions and general management skills is not enough to compete in the future. Organizations will now need to provide new techniques or tools to manage in today’s ever-changing environment.

“Leadership development, in tandem with a greater focus on employee development, creates an environment where skills, capabilities and potential will be focal points, and both identifies and nurtures upcoming leaders,” says a recent Entrepreneur article called “10 Leadership Essentials for 2022.” That article suggests that both formal training and individual coaching can help team members build necessary skills to manage in an uncertain business landscape. 

Preparing leaders and teams for today’s reality of change and uncertainty means organizations will need to provide training and professional development for:

Change management. Constant disruption is likely to continue in the business world, but organizations can assist leaders in developing scenario planning and prioritization skills. Build systems and provide training on processes and procedures to follow in the event of change. 

Innovation. Agile organizations will create cultures where leaders are encouraged and supported as they experiment, iterate and course-correct quickly. Prepare your leaders to get accustomed to adapting rapidly, making decisions along the way. 

Inclusive cultures. Employees are increasingly seeking inclusive organizations that align with their values and respect their identities. Provide education and policies to help your team embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes awareness of concepts around cultural competency and support on recruitment, hiring, onboarding, team-building, policies and ongoing communications to ensure a truly inclusive environment. 

Authentic leadership. There is no one perfect style of leadership, and it helps to understand and respect where others are coming from. Facilitating self-awareness and training on different types of leadership styles will send a message that your organization values each person’s unique strengths and contributions. 

Wellness. Organizations must ensure that all team members know employee wellness is a priority from the top down and how they can practice self-care as it relates to their professional lives. Provide training on how to find and use all benefits and encourage teams to take full advantage of these resources. If your goal is truly employee retention, wellness and balance should be part of professional development conversations. 

A changing business landscape requires new skills: Invest for tomorrow. The report-out session I had with our team members reminded me of how much I’d benefited from leadership training earlier in my career. I remembered how much it meant to me that my former employer was investing in me; that had a positive impact on my skills, my retention and my attitude toward my employer. Isn’t that the kind of ROI we all value?

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