These are difficult times for leaders. Political leaders, business leaders, third sector leaders all find themselves having to deal with greater uncertainty as the impact of the 2008 crash continues to rumble around global economies. And the consequences of living in an interconnected world mean no-one is immune from the effects of their neighbours’ actions, however remote those neighbours may appear to be.
Faced with these challenges, it is no surprise that a recent poll conducted by Ashridge Business School reported that while 76% of senior managers think that it is important to develop leadership knowledge of the changing global business context, skills in dealing with complexity and the capability to manage interconnectedness, only 7% think that their own companies are doing this effectively.
But in my experience, while there is a great desire among leaders to acquire new knowledge about coping with the challenges of increasing interdependence (and often a matching desire among HR professionals to run programmes to close these knowledge gaps), mature leadership is about more than that. Mature leadership is not about knowing the right answer in every circumstance —it is often about accepting that you can’t.
In my recent article for the Croner-i HR journal I discuss why I believe that to cope with these challenges leaders need to develop 3 critical set of skills; Influencing, Engagement, and Mediation – as well as 3 essential attitudes to their work; Agility, Patience, and Empathy.You can read the full article here.