Wrote by, Lindsay Olson
Think social media is the only trendy thing in the business world? Think again. Management techniques and leadership styles have trends too, and as experts crop up with new strategies for managing employees, these trends evolve. Andrew Graham, president and CEO of The Forum Corporation, a Boston-based learning organization, has some interesting predictions of leadership trends in 2013.
1. You must lead change. With unemployment rates bouncing up and down, and companies cutting pay increases and bonuses, constant volatility has become the new norm in the workplace. And that can make for an uncomfortable environment ... unless you manage it. Graham says Forum research points to three critical practices for leaders:
- Build your context agility
- Exercise judgment in action
- Develop professional intelligence
2. Good managers will be hard to find. Because of that very change mentioned in No. 1, many qualified managers are turning to entrepreneurship rather than continuing to climb the corporate ladder. For companies, that means the search for good help will be difficult in 2013. "Don't expect to be able to hire fully capable managers from outside," Graham says. "Instead, grow your own: Hire promising talent early and invest in their training and retention. Look for emerging leaders and, again, invest in them."
Make sure you've got an excellent training program and a clear-cut path for your staff to move into increasingly higher roles of responsibility. Not only will you cultivate great leaders, but you'll also reduce turnover.
3. People-leadership skills will be more highly valued. Of all the skills and experience a manager gets on the job, the ability to lead people is ranking higher every year. According to the research and management firm Leadership IQ's "Talent Management in America and China," organizations with managers who use certain people-leadership skills tend to perform better in their industries. Companies that are leaders in their industries report much higher use of people-leadership practices than lower performing organizations.
Companies that want to lead the pack on this should incorporate these four tenets in employee training:
- Think like a leader
- Coach a team
- Get results through others
- Engage people
Graham suggests leaders "create multilevel leadership development systems, and a) ensure consistency between the levels: consistent competencies, concepts, language, and themes; b) give each level a strong role in the programs for the next level down; c) be intentional about bringing together leaders from different business units, functions, and geographies for training and development opportunities."
It's okay to show that you don't always have the answer. A good leader at the very least knows where to find that answer.
5. Boot camp training is so 2012. In recent years, companies have taken a boot camp approach to training, trying to cram as much information as possible in the minds of employees in just a few hours. Graham says we're starting to see a backlash. "Learners have no desire to come to a training class in which they're forced to work at a breakneck pace all day, complete difficult assignments in the evening, and at the same time keep up with all their regular work."