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As an entrepreneur running and/or owning a business, it is important for you to stay on top of leadership trends so that you know how to get the best out of people and find the right fits for different positions. Whether you lead a team yourself, or need to employ people who will supervise, you should be clear on the trends that are affecting leadership and business success as a result. Read on for some of the key trends you need to know about today.
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Knowledge Sharing and Cross-Pollination
One of the first big leadership trends is knowledge sharing and cross-pollination within companies. That is, rather than keeping workers divided into separate departments of functional expertise based on particular tasks, businesses are focusing more on ensuring that employees understand what is happening across the organization.
“Training is, quite simply, one of the highest-leverage activities a manger can perform. Consider for a moment the possibility of your putting on a series of four lectures for members of your department.” – Businessinsider.com
For workers to make timely and accurate decisions they need to have a panoramic view of the business they work for, not just their area or job. When employees have a greater awareness of the firm’s internal and external environments they can make effective decisions in a timely manner, and the business on a whole can adapt much more quickly.
Through workers sharing knowledge between departments and functions, and employees getting a chance to work in areas outside their normal, everyday environment, problems can be identified and solved quickly and easily. In addition, businesses can stay more competitive, and teams can become more cohesive.
Furthermore, it is important to note that leaders must be able to work and collaborate across teams themselves, in order to make cross-functionality and knowledge sharing a company-wide thing. Strong relationship building and networking is a key component of this.
Greater Investment in Professional and Personal Development
With the rapidly evolving technologies, workplaces, and industries we are seeing these days that there is a greater need for leaders and other employees to continually develop their knowledge base, skills, and experience. As such, another key leadership trend to be aware of is a greater investment in professional and personal development.
When employees have a greater awareness of the firm’s internal and external environments they can make effective decisions in a timely manner, and the business on a whole can adapt much more quickly.Tweet This
To keep up with all the changes occurring, internally and externally, companies are now recognizing the need for workers to adapt so they can keep up productivity. This greater investment in human capital is happening in a wide variety of ways. For example, businesses are paying some or all of the costs involved in employees enrolling in higher degrees that can be studied online and scheduled around work and family commitments. In particular, things like best online MBA programs, Big Data/Data science degrees, and marketing and communication studies are proving popular.
Businesses are also focusing more on developing in-house training modules to keep staff members up to date on relevant topics; and are hiring motivational, informative speakers who specialize in niche subjects to come in and teach employees new skills.
Mentorships are also quite popular. These may be either organized by way of pairing “green” workers with highly experienced team members within a company or with people who are adept in a particular area; or by sending employees to work in other businesses or markets to develop their knowledge and skill set. Employee exchanges, in particular, are growing.
When it comes to learning, a specific trend to note is that development is coming down to individuals more and more. Businesses are empowering workers to take control of their own development and decide to learn on the job or off-site in a way that closes the gaps in their expertise and the way in which they prefer to learn.
Personalized learning is more possible than ever now, thanks to technology, so workers can optimize their learning according to their particular goals, style, interests and pace. As well, learning segments which are “bite-sized” and can be covered in just a few minutes rather than hours or days, are also gaining more traction.
More Flexibility and Agility in Work Types, Methods and Locations
Lastly, while advances in technology have led to more employees being able to work remotely over recent years, flexibility and agility in the workplace are only set to grow further. For example, on top of increasing numbers of people working from home or otherwise “off-site” now, human resources functions and management techniques will also leverage technologies to provide workers with a more digital experience on the job. This enables tasks to be done more quickly and easily, and for stress to be relieved in many regards. Big Data is being utilized increasingly to handle or assist with an ever-growing number of tasks.
There are various changes happening when it comes to work types, too. The growth in independent contractors is very clear, for instance. With the costs involved in hiring full-time employees being too high for many firms, and with lots of people keen to work for themselves and enjoy more flexibility with the jobs they take on or the times or locations they perform them in, the older model of full-time employment is less popular. Businesses must find ways, though, to ensure these contractors become a cohesive part of the team.