Insider’s Guide: Growing Your Leadership Skills for Today’s Challenges

The pandemic has greatly impacted us all.  As leaders of organizations, we face new challenges in our current roles and beyond.  From the C-Suite to the front line, leaders must learn to adapt and further develop their skills and competencies to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly changing world.  Let’s face it, 2021 has been another tough year with a lot of focus on crisis management and just surviving.  But, after nearly two year, it’s time to change that focus to leading strategically with passion and purpose.  You might be thinking, how do I do that again?  What new skills do I need?  It’s time to brush off those cobwebs and grow your leadership skills!

I was fortunate to have Christine LeLacheur, CEO Cheurfire Consulting, a leadership development expert, coach, speaker and social entrepreneur, join me on my recent webinar “Insider’s Guide:  Growing Your Leadership Skills” to discuss the important new challenges facing leaders today, and the key competencies leaders need to develop for their current role and beyond.  Christine was a fabulous guest, and helped us by sharing her experience and insights relevant for all leaders.

As we focus on leadership and key competencies needed going forward, we should reflect on our role as leaders and why we need to continuously improve our skills and sharpen the saw.  A leader’s top priority is to inspire and motivate people.  Without inspired people, nothing will get done and your best strategy will fail!  A great leader helps others discover the ideas and support them to turn them into reality.  These are different competencies than you might have valued in the past, or got you noticed as a sole contributor.

In recent Forbes article, studies show 94% of workers reported being stresses, 78% believe the pandemic has severely affected their mental health and 40% report making more flawed decisions.  Challenges for leaders such as the Great Resignation, the rolling pandemic, social and environmental justice, move to a hybrid workplace and economic uncertainty are all taking their toll.  Leaders are increasingly insecure, fearful and they admit that they are under-performing.  In addition, a 2020 MIT Sloan Management Review study respondents reported only 10% strongly agreed that their organization has leaders with the right skills to thrive.  These are troubling signs, but top leaders are taking notice and beginning to understand the need for leaders to improve their skills.

The critical competencies that leaders need to inspire and motivate others in today’s world start with the inner-core.

  1. Intense Self-Awareness:  understanding your strengths and gaps as a leader and how your emotions and mindsets drive your leadership behavior and how you show up as a leaders for those around you.  Learning how your character, values and beliefs impact how you lead and what drives you.
  2. Being Vulnerable:  the decision to be vulnerable and invite feedback from others, admit you don’t have all the answers and you value the ideas and impressions of others.  To open yourself up to the possibility of change.  To be vulnerable requires HUMILITY and COURAGE.  
  3. Adopting a Duty Mindset:  seeing your work a part of a larger purpose, seeing yourself as part of a team with massive potential.  Working for a cause greater than one’s self and dedicating yourself to helping others achieve a common goal.  Creating a shared vision and strategy and communicating it so powerfully that others join you on the journey.
  4. Staying Present, Being Vigilant and Course Correcting – staying present and in the moment.  Understanding where you and your team are at any given moment on your journey.  Be ready to pivot and course correct based on events in real-time

Another, overarching competency, that leaders need to develop is ResilienceJean Chatzky once said “Resilience isn’t a single skill. It’s a variety of skills and coping mechanisms. To bounce back from bumps in the road as well as failures, you should focus on emphasizing the positive.”  Resilience starts with a positive attitude.  Good leaders are constantly reframing disappointments and failures into learning opportunities and necessary steps to eventual success.   Leaders need to find their passion.  When you follow your passion, you’re much more able to recover quickly and move forward.  Another key way to build resilience is by showing empathy and developing bonds with others.  As a leader, somedays you may need to lean on your support network more than others.  Finally, leaders need to practice self leadership and self care.  If you’re not able to take care of yourself, how will you ever be able to care for others?

Mastering these skills and competencies is difficult but not impossible.  As a coach, I assist leaders at all stages of their careers from the emerging leader, to mid-career leader/executive and senior executives that are committed to improving their abilities to people with passion, competency and character.

If you’re ready for a discussion on how executive leadership coaching can help you to be a more passionate, powerful leader, schedule a call with me today to determine the right path.


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