An organization’s success largely depends on the skills of its leaders and how they lead employees to bring out the best in themselves. The development of leadership skills has drastically changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. As employees were working from the office, it was easier for managers to monitor employees’ progress, needs of skills development, and performance. It helped immediate actions and progress in the working methods.
During the pandemic, businesses shifted to remote work or work from home overnight. Most managers were confused about how to lead and track the work done by employees remotely. Managers spent time experimenting with various ways for effective team collaboration and remote teamwork. Even post-pandemic, the world will partly continue with remote work, and thus employees, as well as existing leaders, should develop leadership skills to develop their careers in the future. Let’s focus on some leadership skill development tips to bring out the best in managers and other team members.
Leaders should get the most from their team all the time, especially during a weak economy. They should give chances to their employees to take the initiative and utilize all employees' talent and ideas instead of underutilizing them. At the same time, employees should participate in challenging projects or tasks to build trust and show their interests, ideas, and skills.
Be a critical thinker:
High-profile jobs need critical thinking to foresee potential problems before they occur and develop ways to prevent them from occurring. Good leaders should be capable of taking advantage of potential opportunities to benefit both company and employees.
Create a positive work environment:
Work culture and environment play an important role in achieving business goals and developing next-generation leaders within the company. Leaders must create collaborative, creative, and inclusive environments for successful teamwork.
Leadership development plan:
To develop leadership skills in employees, organizations should first establish and implement leadership development plans. According to a Harvard Business School article, “…creating a leadership development plan is vital to staying ahead of the curve and rising to the demands of the job market”. Moreover, a leadership development plan should introduce the PACE model that includes:
- Pick a leadership goal.
- Apprise others in your inner circle of the goal.
- Collect specific ideas on how to improve.
- Elicit feedback on how you’re doing.
Employees should be encouraged and motivated to establish goals aligned to their interests, strengths, experience, and overall business goals.
Encourage employees participation and discussion:
Apart from networking, managers need to nurture employees' development skills. In discussions, employees should be encouraged to introduce their new ideas, participate in decisions, and put forward their opinions. Upskilling workshops and training programs should be implemented for the overall skill development of employees that is essential to achieving business goals.
Give leading opportunities:
Future leaders should be developed within the organization. It needs existing managers and leaders to give employees challenging assignments to prove their abilities and potential to lead the teams in the future. Employees looking for career development should be supported with coaching and networking as well as guidance in decisions.
Create mentorship programs:
Top leaders in the world, such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates, have mentors to guide them in optimizing their decisions. Mentoring is an essential element of leadership development as it gives direction and builds leadership competencies like communication skills and confidence.
Leadership coaching and training programs by inspiring and knowledgeable trainers should be held in the organization at every level of the leadership development plan. It will help employees in improving self-awareness, generating effective behaviours, and building leadership skills.
Feedback to employees:
Even if employees show initiative and work to their best capabilities, they should always receive feedback. Frequent reviews can help them learn new skills quickly and grow individually.
Increase engagement by providing tools and technologies:
Though technologies are evolving and rapidly changing, COVID-19 forced most organizations to accept and implement them immediately. Employees should be trained to use new tools and technologies to receive and share information and stay connected while working remotely in the virtual world. Various online courses are available to introduce employees to newly adapted technologies within the organization, such as social media, virtual and augmented reality, and Big data and analytics. Though technologies look difficult at the start, with experience, employees can do wonders with their smartness and dedication.
Thus, leadership is not a title but a responsibility that is equally divided in a team. Each employee leads a particular task and thus is equally responsible for a successful project. Each employee should develop leadership skills by making a plan, creating a budget, sharing knowledge, and encouraging employees to participate actively in a project.