I have long been a passionate believer in the fact that authenticity matters. Perhaps now, more than ever before, because, in an age where the tweet is more toxic than the sword, concealing the tensions inherent in the complex balancing acts we play becomes less possible every day.
In the last month, I’ve had a couple of public-speaking outings, one as a panel member for the launch of the latest research from The Leadership Council on Global Talent in the UK, and the other a talk to the Association for Business Psychology. Of the two, I should have been more anxious about the panel discussion, largely because the rest of the panel and most of the audience can best be described as both ‘great’ and ‘good’.
Today marks World Hello Day, which recognises the importance of communication in all aspects of our lives. A surprising commemoration at first glance, however the history behind the celebration of this day dates back over 40 years.
For iconoclasts, it has been a year of heady hoopla. For the established order, it has been a wake-up call like no other. Citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, in Europe, and beyond, are only just beginning to understand the implications.
On World Mental Health Day, the world health organisation has informed us “If we don’t act urgently, by 2030, Depression will be the leading Global illness.” Following some research we conducted we discovered that whilst 93% of managers say they care about their employees, only 53% employees agree.
Take a look at most of the studies that explore the traits of successful leaders, and you’ll see communication is usually close to the top. In a study by the Leadership Council in late 2015, it came out as THE critical skill.
I like the idea that developing the next generation of leaders falls as much to the current generation as it does the Learning and Development team. Without a culture where emerging leadership is truly valued and nurtured, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated the leadership development programme is, without the foundation of a strong leadership culture firmly in place, it’s not going to have the desired effect.
We have a particular client who has a penchant for getting in touch a few days before Christmas, requesting we design and deliver a programme by the end of January. We are of course always up for the challenge, but this brief was particularly interesting. How does the legal function in a major global business become more ingrained in the day-to-day business decision-making processes. How do subject matter experts break through the confines of their specialism and contribute more effectively to strategic and commercial decisions.
It’s perhaps more telling to leave to one side the newly-founded mega-brands of the digital age and focus more on the bricks and mortar behemoths to see what is happening. In these businesses, we’ve seen digital come from the periphery into the heart of the operation, transforming everything from the customer experience to the supply chain. Some have actively embraced the disruption, others have been reluctant adopters, but whatever the appetite I would challenge you to think of a leadership role that has been unaffected by the rise of digital.