Language learning insights for companies

Leadership development: The ultimate hack for developing successful leaders

What does it take to be a successful leader in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world? It’s a crucial question organization across the globe are asking as they enter the uncharted digital territory.

The challenges today’s managers are facing are immense and very different to the past. They are expected to be agile, resilient, and adaptable leaders who can thrive under pressure and adversity. Unfortunately, they often feel a lack of these skills.

At the same time, the pressure on organizations to develop this kind of leaders has never been more pressing. But what can you do to help develop your leaders now?

Here are key recommendations to hack leadership development in your organization:

  • It starts from day one
    The need to develop critical influencing, negotiation and communication skills starts from day one. Often this investment doesn’t happen until later in people’s careers.
    Organizations need to find ways to integrate interpersonal development into training and development programs earlier in the employee’s career.


  • Digital awareness
    Leaders at all levels need to have enough of an understanding of new technologies impacting their organizations and market. However, they are not expected to master those new technologies.
    It is essential to help employees appreciate the impact of digitalization on their business and to acknowledge this skill by making it a core competence and recognizing it in performance reviews.


  • Growth mindset, always
    A positive, can-do attitude and seeing challenges and opportunities rather than issues and problems are what companies need to actively look for in their employees.
    People who possess the agility to learn quickly and can shift directions on the spot will help your organization respond quickly to market and client demands. This is particularly important when it comes to the ability to adapt fast to new technologies.


  • One size does not fit all
    One-size-fits-all learning does not work. Development needs to be tailored to age, gender, level, and region.
    For example, a younger manager might need to focus on building the relational skills that will help him work in and build high performing teams. Whereas a more experienced manager might need to focus on business acumen, high-level leadership skills and developing a strategic perspective.


  • ‘Learning by doing’
    More need to be done to help employees appreciate the power and value of learning on the job. Some efficient ways to assure people develop new skills include stretch assignments, secondments, coaching and mentoring. These are good ways to ensure employees’ development while getting the feedback they need.


  • Tolerance of failure
    Failure is as important as success in shaping people as leaders. It helps build confidence and self-esteem. Employees need to know that there will not be a career-damaging consequence if they push boundaries and get it wrong.
    Moreover, organizations need to ask themselves if they are creating cultures that are tolerant of failure and help employees have a better understanding of what is an acceptable level of risk.


  • A strategic language training program
    Corporate Language training programs, especially in English – the business’ language – will remove barriers to progression for your talent. This will, therefore, reduce misunderstandings that could hold back productivity, collaboration, and innovation. Linguistic skills, as well as inter-cultural understanding, should be treated as a main priority to avoid lack of communication and stop important leadership messages reaching all employees.

To find out more about leadership development for the 21st century and how this can impact your business, download our latest research

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