Address the leadership lag at every level of business

John Yates
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ext year is already looking set to be a year of big change, with the UK embarking on its Brexit journey and Donald Trump entering the White House.

And for businesses, this inevitably means a year of uncertainty ahead. Having trusted and well-respected leaders in place is crucial if organisations are going to weather the storm of the next 12months.

However, new research from ILM has found that 28 per cent of employees in the UK don’t feel they have a trustworthy and inspirational leader, and more than half would consider leaving their current job unless their organisation changes.

With almost a quarter of British workers saying their leaders make them feel stressed, and less than a third of HR professionals feeling very confident about the pipeline of future leaders for the business, there’s no better time than the present to start addressing the leadership lag, if you’re going to survive and thrive next year.

Here are our top tips on how to ensure your team is going into 2017 on the front foot:

Nurture leaders

Many businesses wrongly assume that leadership is a privilege reserved for the most senior members of the team. It’s time for that mindset to change.

Leadership is a set of skills that you should be encouraging each member of your team to develop right from their first day in the office – and even before, ideally. By equipping team members at all levels with essential leadership skills – from efficient planning and communication through to collaborative working – you’ll help ensure each individual employee is empowered to contribute to the success of the company.

What’s more, providing effective training from the start will help future-proof your business with a steady stream of skilled, confident and loyal leaders.

The leaders staff want

According to ILM’s research, less than a quarter of UK professionals would be very likely to recommend their company’s overall leadership. Employees are your organisation’s biggest asset and without their backing, developing and growing the business won’t happen.

Nearly a third of today’s professionals want their leaders “on the shop floor,” more often emphasising the need for greater visibility and a zero tolerance for ivory towers.

Listening to – and respecting – your team members’ requests will not only boost morale but also help increase employee retention in the longer term.

Flexible working cultures

Developing and nurturing your team into strong leaders is just one part of the jigsaw; having the right workplace environment in which they can thrive is also key.

More than half of UK professionals feel both the structure and culture of their workplace is holding them back from doing their job more effectively, so make sure your workplace is set up to get the most out of its people.

As well as calling for more autonomy, employees today want to have more of a say in the running of a business, and a better understanding of where they fit into the bigger picture.

Breaking down siloes and implementing a flatter, more flexible working structure will help ensure your team members at every level are given the opportunity to prosper.

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