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Stephanie Morgan The future of business leadership

Most of us in L&D are well aware of the importance of leadership development. However, the recent report “Rewiring leadership: The future we want, the leadership we need” from CISL, brings up fresh and pertinent reasons why businesses and L&D need to invest in their leaders.

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It concludes that most businesses need to re-evaluate how they are approaching their leadership development in order to remain successful and sustainable. It inspires a change in what we demand from our future business leaders.

When reading the report, I was particularly intrigued by their premise that we can’t rely solely on the government to tackle challenges such as climate change. It then made an inspiring link to modern leadership, highlighting a shift in society relying more and more on business leaders to face these challenges in place of slow governance and regulations.

What does this mean for L&D?

There is a big task ahead, developing a new kind of leadership to ensure your organisation remains successful, relevant and sustainable. You can do this by supporting the creation and implementation of new strategies and by developing a different type of leadership which supports a sustainable future.

On the surface, this seems a bit daunting but the reality is that this is a really exciting time to be working in L&D. You have a great opportunity here to add significant value to your business’s future.

This new take on business leadership also has the potential to impact your leaders on a personal level, adding a substantial amount of purpose to their jobs and their careers. It’s up to L&D to tap into this sense of purpose and inspire a real change in our organisations.

If you’re not sure where to begin, I have put together a four practical first steps that can help you on your way to supporting a new type of leadership:

1. Make sure your board is invested

Before you begin implementing new strategies or introducing new ways of thinking, it’s vital that you, and your goals and objectives, are aligned with the business.

A good place to start is by finding out how committed your board is to leadership development, and to make sure that your definition of successful leadership is in sync. If there seems to be a low level of commitment from your board, you may need to put together a business case.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, our recent webinar on making a business case for your L&D can help.

2. Embrace personality and diversity

No one person has all the skills, characteristics and capabilities needed to successfully lead a business. That’s why it’s important to embrace individuality and personality. We want to create a group of leaders who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we are getting well rounded and diverse leadership. As the report says:

“The focus should be on developing collective leadership capacity, with individuals supported and inspired to deliver against their potential, and to contribute effectively within their personal strengths and role.”

3. Encourage authentic leadership

Authentic leadership can help create a more engaged leadership culture, where diversity is celebrated, and each person is bringing their whole self to the job.  

Although authenticity isn’t a skill easily learned, Laura Kinsler’s definition of an authentic leader provides a good starting point. She defines authentic leadership with two main pillars: self-awareness and self-regulation. According to her research, authentic leaders are able to see their own values and goals objectively, and in a way that aligns with how they are perceived by others.

Supporting your leaders by helping them to identify their own values, and develop their self-awareness, will help them on their way to authentic leadership.

4. Create leadership clubs

Leadership clubs can create an invaluable peer support group and act as a source of inspiration for your leaders. They can also be a great way for your leaders to tap into to a common goal and develop a sense of purpose towards creating a sustainable future. 

A successful leadership club should inspire vision and innovation by taking on a strategic and visionary approach itself. This could include bringing in inspirational leaders from outside who have achieved similar goals and objectives for their business.

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L&D have a big part to play in creating the leadership we need for a sustainable future. If you’re still unsure about how to apply these changes to your organisation, then please get in touch. I’m always happy to help, even if it’s just a conversation.

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Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning

Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.

Follow @stephanieLandD

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