One of the first questions we ask people when they work with us is if they think leaders are born or made. We’ve probably all worked in an organisation where leadership is just something we’re expected to know but, in reality, it’s something that still needs work.  

Thankfully when we ask this question there are often plenty of people who believe that leaders are made, which bodes well for the services we offer at The Leadership Academy! Leadership takes work and your professional development doesn’t stop when you hit the top of the career ladder.  

For example, did you know that 60% of frontline managers fail within the first two years of their new role? Alongside that, 56% report receiving no management training at all. These are stats that we want to see change.  

When you’re awarded with a new promotion to leadership level, it’s an exciting time. Finally your hard work has been recognised and you’re expected to now know how to lead a team to success. But what’s next? Where’s the golden handbook that outlines everything you need to know when it comes to leadership? 

We treat leadership as something that we should inherently know but when it comes to managing people and aspects such as time management, performance appraisals and delegation, things become unclear. When you haven’t led a group of people before there are things to learn and you may be exceptional at your job, but you now have more people to consider.  

Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti once said:  

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” 

This applies to our professional development and many organisations will spend thousands of pounds to ‘quickly’ upskill staff. Yet when it comes to leadership, many feel like they still aren’t prepared for this shift in their role and what is now expected of them. That’s what prompted us to do some research into what really makes a great leader and if leaders aren’t born, how exactly are they ‘made’? 

Here are three ways that leaders can begin their journey to being a better leader. 

The learning never stops 

When you take a step up into a leadership position, your team will expect to learn from you. You’ve proven that you have the skills and expertise to grow within your organisation and now it’s time to empower your team to do the same. As a leader the success of your team will likely be a KPI and it’s a crucial part in moving the business forward.  

As well as ensuring your team have the tools and resources to grow their own knowledge and skills, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to neglect your own development. You’ll likely need to acquire new skills that benefit both your career and the organisation’s future, so make sure you take the time to continue learning.  

Communication is key 

Effective communication is the backbone of any organisation and it’s a key element that comes up in most of, if not all, the training and development we do at The Leadership Academy.  

When you learn to be a better communicator you will find it easier to build relationships with colleagues. Using tools such as Everything DiSC can help to delve into behavioural styles so you can understand both yourself and those around you better.  

It’s also important to make sure you listen. A happy team leads to success and everyone should feel like they are valued.  

Who’s your mentor? 

Connecting with someone who has ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’ is a great way to gain advice and support throughout your career. It’s not uncommon for leaders to feel lonely when they get to the top, regardless of the size of the business.  

Coaching and mentorship can be hugely beneficial and when you engage with an independent party, you can get that objective view when it comes to challenges you may face. Whether you choose one professional coach/mentor or a peer network of those in the same position as you, it can help to reduce the stresses by communicating with someone who understands.  

At The Leadership Academy we discovered that leaders can really flourish when they learn more about themselves in a small group setting, combining peer-to-peer learning with one-on-one coaching sessions. So, our Leadership Development programme (LDP) was born!  

Over the past two years we’ve worked with upcoming and existing leaders across various industries to unlock their potential and ultimately become a better leader. Available as a face-to-face 13-month programme or a virtual six-month programme, our LDP takes leaders on a journey of discovery to understand processes, gain skills and develop themselves.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about the next cohort of the Leadership Development Programme you can download our free eBook or get in touch on enquiries@theleadershipacademy.uk – we can’t wait to have you onboard!  

Don’t forget to visit The Leadership Academy on LinkedIn Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.  

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