By Ryan Connor, Senior Management Consultant at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore
The quick succession of the Covid pandemic into an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis means our world has been disrupted for some time now. Throughout this, adapting and pivoting at a strategic level has become a necessity and has at times been what saved organisations from being overwhelmed.
As companies continue to transition into new ways of working, leaders in all sectors are under increased pressure to fully understand how the expectations around leadership continue to evolve, and in doing so, successfully navigate their own organisation through the change and uncertainty that the modern working world brings.
Those aspiring to be leaders, therefore, must be equipped to lead in today’s business environment while also building their profile, skills, network, and accelerating the impact of the work they deliver. To support this, there are several common factors at play.
Firstly, talent and ambition must be evidenced through the quality of work delivered. Having the confidence to seek higher opportunities is vital, yes, but performance must be there to back it up. You may be fortunate to have a line manager who supports your development, but if not, you must articulate clearly and with the right people what you are hoping to achieve.
Successful leadership is difficult without a strong network of support. Building this within both your personal and professional life is important for when pressures do emerge and can be achieved easily and inexpensively in the hybrid world with communication technology.
A common misconception of leadership, however, is that those at the helm always have the answers. In any situation, it may feel like a sign of weakness to seek other’s advice, yet it is better than providing the wrong answer. Similarly, good leadership comes with the expectation that failure will happen, and an organisation requires strong direction when things aren’t easy. Taking responsibility and owning your mistakes builds personal resilience, while your example can cultivate a growth mindset within employees.
If there’s one thing the last few years has shown us, it’s that creative and innovative thinking have an essential place in high level decision making. Challenges can emerge overnight, and we saw during the pandemic that those who were open to new approaches were first to minimise the impact on their productivity. Creating an open-minded environment rather than instinctively dismissing new ideas will breed creativity and allow others to thrive there too.
Most importantly, leadership growth is based on the ability to engage in continuous learning and development. Investing in training opportunities and seeking out development within your role, such as suggesting more challenging targets or taking the lead on a new initiative, will ensure you are never standing still. Individuals serious about evolving into a leadership role will want to consider coaching, mentoring or peer support groups and the development they can gain from external training, networking, and volunteering.
Finally, intuitive successful leadership takes practice, experience and adding to your skillset and in time taking major decisions and managing confidently becomes the norm. However, those who are successful know when to challenge their own practice, regularly identify their own capability gaps and can therefore pivot when their organisation encounters complexity, uncertainty or change.
This article first appeared in the Irish News on 25th October 2022.
To discuss any aspect in more detail please contact Ryan Connor, Senior Management Consultant by Tel: 028 9032 3466 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org