Leadership is a much overused and a little understood word. In these times of financial challenges and reductions in staff we are often hearing that we need to develop new and more effective styles of leadership, or we are told that leaders need to be the ones making the changes. But how much support to bosses provide to allow leadership to be developed?
In a time of plenty there was enough time and money available to allow people the space to consider their leadership style and how they interact with colleagues. There was individual coaching and mentoring opportunities, and team building days and 360 appraisals. Unfortunately, now when we need to ask more of people we are struggling to find the opportunities needed.
This is why it is vital that we invest some time and thought even if that needs to be out of working hours. We should all be looking at how to develop ourselves further both in the role we currently have and for the future. Change is happening and it is not going to stop so finding ways to help staff become more comfortable with it is essential.
Everyone in a leadership role needs to be working together to bring the best out of the company, whether that is in streamlining or in developing and expanding. That is where internal communication is vital. The vision and principles of the organisation must be clearly understood and there must be an agreed definition for things. In that way there is a consistency throughout the organisation from top to bottom.
I was fortunate last week to have the opportunity to talk to Mary Keightley about effective communication and the development of leadership. Much of the focus has to be on understanding yourself and how you interact with others. But none of this will have an impact unless you can value the differences of other people. There are different motivations, approaches and priorities that people have and leaders need to understand and appreciate them all. But also to bring things together.
In all this change and uncertainty the communicator and the internal communication professionals have a central part to play. There is no time to stay still we all have to keep learning.