What is the key to good leadership training?
Now Reading
What is the key to good leadership training?

What is the key to good leadership training?

A good programme would help you with the right resources to address this critical task

Gulf Business

Do business leaders think they don’t need to learn anything new after they’ve reached the pinnacle of success?

My friend and our non-profit venture mentor, the late President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, used to agree with my viewpoint that many probably think they don’t.

Every leader, no matter what level, should hone their skills, as all corporate learning systems are at a lag to the speed of business. The pandemic has proven that beyond doubt. In the post-pandemic business world, you will need new skills to survive, and thrive.

Leadership training is a multi-billion-dollar industry globally, and yet most of these programmes fail to deliver the essential leadership skills desired. Enterprises routinely seek outside help to hone up the leadership skills of their employees at different levels.

In fact, if you want to get noticed for a promotion to a higher role, you should show some traits of leadership at your current position. And, what is a better way than taking good leadership training to find out what skills you have, and will need?

Your leadership style 
Newly minted managers will require skills needed to motivate and manage their teams, which are normally not taught well in B-schools.

Each of us needs to discover our unique leadership style to effectively align with the organisation we lead and to manage leaders who have varied leadership styles.

Recent tectonic shifts in businesses have brought back some new aspects of leadership that were not prominent till then: empathy, psychology and wellbeing – for instance.

The larger ethical issue amongst business leaders is that they don’t “walk the talk”, but expect others to do that. Environmental, social, and governance; and diversity, equity, and inclusion may be big talking points in corporate boardrooms today, but how many leaders do you really see practising it in their personal lives?

Get value
Whichever training institute or training modules you use to acquire new leadership skills, there are a few things you need to glean from it in order to ensure that you get your return on time and money investment.

To start with, find out your leadership style (if you already know that, learn how to improve it further). Find out what defines you as a leader.

There are thirteen or so leadership styles defined by some institutions, ranging from autocratic to visionary (autocratic or authoritative, affiliative, bureaucratic, coaching, democratic or facilitative, delegative, emergent, pace-setting, servant, strategic, transactional, transformational and visionary) that cover pretty much all types in existence. Where do you fit in?

While there is no single style that will guarantee success in isolation, depending on the organisation, teams and the situation, different leadership styles will find the desired results.

However, I can bet 70 per cent of leaders don’t really know what style they have. Within the same organisation, leadership team members will have very different styles. That’s the best example of diversity bringing success.

Different styles will be needed for specific situations. Getting to know your leadership style early will help to build on it further for driving results for your role.

Next is to acquire the ability to manage uncomfortable discussions. From firing someone to confronting someone highly political within the organisation, leaders have the toughest test in confronting and managing uncomfortable discussions.

Such situations are hard mainly because there is conflict or some sort of misalignment. Avoiding such discussions will normally backfire. A good programme would help you with the right resources to address this critical task. The idea is to have a rational conversation, nurture empathy, use critical thinking and manage emotions to solve the
problem in a creative manner.

The third is a related area: conflict management. The American Management Association says, on an average, 24 per cent of a manager’s time is spent on managing conflicts. Any area of business can cause a conflict that can disrupt normal work – and it is not just confined to workplaces.

A good leadership skill is to identify the conflict and have the foresight to resolve it early. Good leadership training should teach how to do this well, but what’s alarming is that over 60 per cent of managers have never received adequate training in this area. Ask yourself if you have been trained to handle conflicts at work.

Fourth is the skill in building relationships within teams. Jack Welch may have said that he didn’t need to be loved within GE, but great teams need an engaging leader who has the ability to build working relationships. Teams with good employee engagement have 43 per cent fewer quality defects and 37 per cent less absenteeism.

Leaders can learn how to share more of themselves during meetings such as stories of relevant anecdotes from the past, how to really say thank you or hold team building workshops, for instance.

The fifth one is something the pandemic has brought to sharp focus: Being agile and adaptive. If one critical thing leaders need for managing the future today, it is the ability to quickly manage the change, as we have witnessed how some companies had quickly mitigated the harsh effects of lockdowns.

Roughly right and quick instead of precise and slow is the new mantra. Learn how to ask for resources, how to help you go out of your comfort zone and take quick decisions, how to take responsibility for change
and how you can walk the talk on agility.

There are several more skills that can be acquired from a leadership training programme but I will limit it to one last one that is critical in today’s workplaces where wellbeing is a major demand by the Generation-Z workforce.

Building mental safety is something every leader must have on his or her plate. Minimising management toxicity at workplaces and building a positive and safe environment for all team members are essential for success – an environment to thrive, learn, contribute and challenge.

Dr M Muneer, global strategic advisor and investor, and co-founder of Medici Institute

You might also like


Scroll To Top