In challenging times Leaders need to focus on these skills?

We are faced with bad examples of leadership daily.

We only need to turn on the news or follow a social media feed to get examples of this.

So why is leadership development so important?

  1. It starts with you

“Mastering yourself is true power” – Lau Tzu

Leaders need to reflect on their attitude and behaviour towards others to connect with their followers.

Many leaders do not understand the importance of self-awareness.

Our self-awareness allows us to understand who we are and in turn, how to interact with others.

Usually, the things you hate most about others are the things that you dislike about yourself.

By knowing your values, personality, skills, emotions, prejudices and beliefs and understanding how these impact your actions and behaviour towards others, you can find ways of strengthening your weaknesses, manage your stress to make better decisions for yourself and others.

Leaders with self-awareness, understand what makes them tick; they have more direction, purpose, influence and success in their professional and personal lives.

Often, developing self-awareness as a leader is also the first step in developing emotional intelligence. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can identify and manage their emotions and identify and influence others' emotions.

The extensive amount of understanding, integrity and wisdom that self-awareness can create for leaders will provide them with critical skills for success.

2. People follow great leaders.

“Great Leaders find ways to connect with their people and help them fulfill their potential” – Steven J Stowell

Employees want to feel like they belong; individuals in leadership roles need to develop strong relationships between employees and their superiors.

Effective leadership is becoming more important than monetary rewards and recognising people for their contribution to the team.

Being a good active listener, gaining feedback from teams, and understanding the challenges they face is key to your leadership success.

When a person feels heard and understood, they will take more ownership in their work.

Remember, there is no one size fits all leadership style.

As a leader, you need to identify a style of leadership that suits the group or environment; this will improve not only relations between employees but also demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow for the sake of the company.

Leaders also need to understand the importance of vulnerability in leadership; being vulnerable is the boldest act of leadership.

It is a powerful tool in an emotionally intelligent leader.

Courageous leaders embrace moments of vulnerability by acknowledging their current state, taking responsibility for their emotions and asking for help.

To build trust, leaders must lead with transparency, accountability and vulnerability.

3. Learn to empower

“Leadership is about empowering others to achieve things they did not think possible” – Simon Sinek

No one is great at everything, as a leader, you may have a good understanding of what is needed for success, but usually, you cannot do it on your own.

As John Maxwell says, "Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others."

Firstly leaders need to delegate tasks not only as a means of freeing up their own time but also as a means of empowering their teams and those around us.

Then communication is king, drop the top-down communication strategy and allow employees to give feedback in a structured manner.

Finally, stop issuing commands; this usually only works in the military but should not be used in the workplace.

Employees may follow your commands out of fear, but they will not respect you.

Show and treat your employees with respect and they will show you respect back.

When someone feels respected, they are usually happy to do more than is required or asked of them.

Mutual respect will not only get you the business results you want but will also get others to follow you and your vision.

4. Look internally.

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders” – Tom Peters

Leadership development should form a crucial part of your organisations' succession plan.

Too often organisations look externally to fill a leadership position in their organisation when they have the skills, expertise, company and industry knowledge sitting in an untapped talent pool. Identify talent, then develop and nurture potential leaders to step into leadership roles.

The key is to develop these future leaders for success now.

By providing leadership development opportunities for your team, you will improve morale, loyalty, and profit.

Continual leadership development opportunities will allow individuals to improve their methods of managing employees and the business, and it will enhance their leadership and efficiency skills. You can't lead a business and think only of your success; this will limit your organisations' success.

However, if you invest in your team, you increase the potential of your business success as a whole.

Leaders should focus on serving as mentors and coaches to internal talent, which will foster a climate of trust and motivation and excellent leadership development.

5. Being agile

“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent” – Bill Gates

Agility is key to leadership success.

It is the ability to make bold and effective decisions and create success in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world.

Agility is your strength as a leader to envision the best way to go forward and inspire your team to transform new thoughts and ideas into actions.

Your ability to be agile will determine whether your business grows or fails, whether your business leads an industry or follows trends.

As a leader, you need to anticipate change; assess risks, create confidence in your teams and get your teams to take action to create success.

Leaders must now have the ability to handle disruption and the agility to adapt their strategies based on rapidly evolving conditions.

When operating in an unpredictable business environment companies with leadership development in place are better able to respond quickly to change.

As leaders, it is your key roles to ensure you develop your teams for success, identify your future leaders and create the change you want to see in your industry or business.

Leadership development is key to the future success of your business, investing in your leadership development now will result in driving your current and future success.