Thank you for continuing to follow our blog as part of your ongoing professional development.

By way of this post, we’d like to introduce a new feature to our blog post offering: our monthly round-up. Each month, we’ll share insightful articles with you from around the internet on a variety of leadership and management topics and developments in the industry so you can continue to expand your knowledge of the field. 

Alongside these articles, we’ll provide our own comments and analysis alongside them, creating an avenue for reflection on leadership and management topics and enhancing your learning further. We’ll also link to previous roundups so that you can catch up on any insight you might have missed or explore topics in the industry further.

We begin our roundup with an article from the People Management blog, looking at a skills deficit uncovered by research and the issue of lack of training.

Three in five adults don’t feel they have all the skills they need for opportunities in the next five years

The skills development brand City and Guild, in their first skills index report, produced in collaboration with the British Chambers of Commerce and labour market data company Emsi, found in the data collected that three in five adults say they don’t have the skills they’ll need to unlock opportunities over the next five years. Almost two-thirds of the 2,000 respondents who took part in the research said they hadn’t received any formal training in the past year, attributing this to the pandemic on budgets. Thirty percent stated they’d not received formal workplace training in the last five years. 

One of the major challenges leaders face is the unpredictability of the future. Despite constructing plans extremely carefully, obstacles will surely emerge, but they can’t be sure when they’ll arrive. Challenges are opportunities for growth. Building skills constantly is essential in leadership because you’re then equipping yourself with the tools not just to lead effectively, but also to solve problems.

Skill-building goes beyond just being capable and competent. As well as being able to apply the right technical skills when you require them, constant learning and development instils confidence. The expansion of knowledge can inspire you to assume new challenges or try new things because you feel you’ve acquired the skills to support you and navigate the waters successfully. 

Naturally, a leader must possess a wide range of skills, which is why we offer a diverse range of courses, including CMI-accredited courses. This selection includes opportunities to develop ‘hard’ skills, the technical skills required for success in management, and also soft skills, such as communication skills, which leaders develop as they grow in the industry. 

Learnings from listening to your employees regularly

In this article on Entrepreneur, CEO of educational content technology and services company Cengage, Michael Hansen, discusses the importance of communication with employees, especially listening to them. He explains how he has organised regular feedback sessions via Zoom in his company to talk about events or trends in the industry or about issues teams are experiencing. He shares three key lessons:

  • Keep communications as close to real-time as possible: The Zoom meetings provide a real-time space for the CEO to hear employees’ concerns and feel as if they’re being heard, which keeps morale up. It can take longer for management to reply through channels such as email, which can lead to the sense, on the employees’ part, that they’re not being heard.
  • Identify trends of concern: Mr Hansen notes an issue rarely affects one person or one team alone, and the conversations are an opportunity to detect trends that could be reasons for concern. Even though they may do so in different ways, employees may ask questions about the same topic. Questions around a recurring topic suggest a problem is developing, or could be developing. 
  • Use communication sessions as a benchmark for transparency: A leader should consider the level of candour of the questions they’re receiving. Are the questions baseline questions? Are your employees digging deeper with their questions? If you perceive them to be holding something back, this is a bad situation. Candour is essential so that you can develop and implement the right initiatives. 

To us, the above demonstrates the importance of active listening, which we discuss in our coaching courses. Active listening encourages employees to open up, to speak without fear of judgment or impartiality. This vital skill involves focusing on the speaker, rather than on speaking and is a chance to understand not only specific issues but also the wider picture, by hearing the whole message so that you can take everything into consideration. 

Do you inspire your colleagues? 

In an article on the blog of the Chartered Managers Institute (CMI), the article encourages you to ask about your impact on your team, by presenting you a series of statements with which you rate your level of agreement, 1 – strongly disagreeing and 5 – strongly agreeing. The statements relate to different aspects of leadership and management, such as communication, inclusivity, culture, focus on productivity, and prioritisation of wellbeing. Examples of these statements include:

  • My colleagues trust me to manage conflict effectively and appropriately. (Communication)
  • I’m realistic about expectations when assigning work and deadlines. (Prioritisation of health and wellbeing)
  • I am clear about what my team needs to accomplish by the end of the month. (Focus on productivity)
  • I champion flexible working, where employees take the lead on how they manage their tasks and schedule. (Culture)
  • Reverse mentoring programmes have been set up and are used effectively. (Inclusivity)

It’s an opportunity for self-reflection. For it to work, you must be truly honest in your answers. It can be uncomfortable, we understand, but getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is part of the path to becoming a better leader. Organisations (and their leaders) must be able to adapt, which will draw you out of your comfort zone. Any exercise in getting uncomfortable is beneficial to you as a leader. 

The exercise encourages self-awareness, by urging you to think about your impact. On this blog, we’ve often discussed how self-awareness is one of the most crucial attributes you can ever develop. Self-aware leaders accept cold, harsh truths to transform their weaknesses into strengths and make better decisions. Self-awareness helps them to communicate better with others and build better relationships, too. 

Firms that target ethnic minority support see 58% better revenues 

Research by Henley Business School has found firms that actively confront issues of racism and inequity over a three-year period in the workplace have earned 58% more on average than businesses that do not. This has translated into a revenue of £5.6 billion, compared to the £3.6 billion of the firms that haven’t. The research also suggested higher levels of staff satisfaction, engagement, and creativity in these firms.

We believe diversity and inclusion are indispensable in the workplace. Without inclusion, there is no diversity, however. Inclusion creates a sense of belonging that powers commitment and motivation, and, ultimately, lead to higher performance. The financial performance of the firms that have taken targeted steps and supported minority groups isn’t a coincidence. 

You can find more of our thoughts on diversion and inclusion in our blog post ‘So, what is diversity and inclusion all about?’. In our three-day course ‘Strategic Approaches to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion’, you can learn all about understanding EDI and how to integrate major objectives into the organisation. While on the course, you’ll also appreciate how EDI can influence objectives. 

Book a course with us

The articles above offer valuable insight into the benefits of building skills, improving communication, considering issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace in more depth, and the need for self-awareness in leadership. This now becomes a chance for you to:

  • Invest in yourself to lead more effectively by developing the skills to support you and enable you to overcome the myriad of challenges leadership presents, and, by building your skills, to increase your own confidence as a leader in the face of the uncertain future.
  • Create spaces for transparent communication and scope to identify potential issues.
  • Incorporate suitable EDI policies into your workplace culture.
  • Confront the uncomfortable truth about your impact as a leader so that you strive to become greater in the role.

We invite you to book a place on one of our training courses or find out more about them by visiting our courses page and clicking on the relevant course, or emailing us at enquiries@inpd.co.uk, messaging us via the form on our contact page or calling us on 0161 826 3139. We welcome all of your questions, allowing you to select the training courses that will best allow you to generate a solid impact as a leader of the future.


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