The Changing Nature of Leading Teams
A request for a training course for a group of team leaders with the above title ticked all my boxes. Sometimes we need to step back to appreciate how the large-scale changes in the world of work affect the day to day activity for the typical team leader.
A survey by the Centre for Creative Leadership suggests there are more complex challenges requiring that leaders go beyond their individual capabilities. New approaches need to focus on flexibility, collaboration, crossing boundaries and collective leadership.
So, if your organisation’s team leader programmes are delivering the same material in the same way they have done for many years, it’s time for a fresh approach.
Key themes that we cover in our team leader training include:
The shift in leadership power from positional to personal has been aided with the advent of social media, which gives knowledge experts the platform to share their voice. The whole multi-faceted aspect of social media however means that it is almost impossible to be anything but authentic. The underlying trend being how trust has shifted away from institutions and towards individuals. Authenticity in leadership roles isn’t just about using social media tools however, but it is about finding your voice, and being your true self, better, rather than a carbon copy of a list of management traits.
To deal with more complex challenges that don’t sit neatly within one function or department it’s imperative that team leaders have the ability to collaborate across boundaries.Seeing the big picture, problem solving, and working with cross-functional teams are all key skills needed by today’s team leaders. For larger organisations or for those that work across organizational boundaries with partners a solid base of classic stakeholder management and influencing skills are required.
Giving and receiving feedback is one of those topics that is always covered on manager and leader training – however with faster paced working environments, remote teams, and high expectations arising from a world of instant messaging, traditional feedback models may not go far enough. We are fans of the Radical Candor™ model – and have introduced this into our short courses and programmes. This goes further than the notion of ‘constructive’ criticism and moves into giving feedback that challenges. It’s about caring about people enough to give them more than just focusing on the immediate task and outcome.
This one is by no means anything new, however the benefits of a coaching approach are needed now more than ever. The emphasis that coaching places on self-awareness and personal learning, for both coach and coachee are critical. Studies have described the modern learner as ‘overwhelmed, distracted and impatient’, but with the motivation to develop and implement new skills. Coaching from a team leader can be used to ensure wellbeing, focus and a way forward.
Having a solid base of understanding around change management is standard practice for those in strategic roles, but not always further down the line. An awareness of the various models can help those leading teams to bring the team with them when change is occurring. However, it is the principles of the models, rather than a templated approach, that is needed in a world where being agile is key.
Team-leaders are at the coal-face of modern organisations, and as such, need their axes to be always sharp. Training that relies on outdated models without providing the context for modern challenges will not suffice. Talk to us if you are interested in management or leadership training that takes a fresh approach.