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Advice Leadership development

contact. The solution is to agree what they are setting out to achieve (their outputs) rather than their working behaviour (their inputs), coupled with good communication skills on both sides.

Leading through change

ILM’s head of research and policy, David Pardey, explores the challenges facing organisations today


he Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is the only constant. How we deal with that change – both the good and the challenging – helps defi ne us

as leaders. Over the last 10 years, the pace of change has accelerated dramatically. Growth in fl exible working, new technology, expanding international markets and shifting economic factors all infl uence the way we work within our organisations and teams.

The big challenge for leaders and managers is

future-proofi ng their skills, ensuring that they are ready to take advantage of change and keep the skills of their workforce relevant.

The Institute of Leadership & Management believes that skilled managers and leaders hold the key to creating the productive, engaged, high-performing workforces that drive business and economic success. With the right training and development, everyone can be a better leader and manager. When you develop the leadership skills of people at all levels in an organisation, you are putting yourself in the best position to face what’s coming – after all, you probably already employ the best future leader

of your company. We know that leadership development works. We’ve seen it in action.

Understanding change

Understanding change and getting to grips with the driving force behind it is the fi rst step to being an effective leader. It’s easy to miss signifi cant social changes when you are slap-bang in the middle of them, particularly if they were well under way before you encountered them. The way that working practices have changed is a good example. ILM’s research report ‘Flexible working: Goodbye nine to fi ve’, shows just how out of date the ‘Monday to Friday, nine to fi ve’ model really is, with 94 per cent of employers offering fl exible working in one form or another. Sometimes it’s part of a formal contract (especially part-time working and job share), but it’s just as likely to be an informal arrangement (adjusting start and fi nish times where necessary). Employees crave a better balance between work and home life, and new technology is enabling it. Our research reveals that many organisations are already allowing staff to work fl exibly, but there is still some way to go. The challenge for managers in these forward thinking organisations is performance-managing their fl exible workers without much face-to-face

Plan for change Our research, ‘The leadership and management talent pipeline’, has highlighted exactly how far talent planning contributes to business success. It shows clearly that organisations with a talent plan are less likely to need to recruit outside the organisation. This cuts costs and reduces risk, because people you promote are known to you and they know your business. Any business that plans a strong supply of internally-developed leaders and managers has taken an important step to assuring its own growth and effective performance. Our research identifi ed three key skills that should be embedded into all leadership training: communication, people management and organisation and planning. Developing these skills in all employees will prepare them for all levels of management and their day-to-day work. While technical skills are important for initial

recruitment, they are not a good indication of leadership potential or management capability. First-line managers who are hired for their technical skills alone may be unprepared for the demands of more senior leadership roles.

Responding to change

Changing demographics and their sociological implications are also having a huge impact on how we can and should approach managing the new generation entering the workforce. ILM’s research about managing Generation Y shows graduates want a boss who is more of a coach and friend than a manager in the traditional sense. The report also revealed a signifi cant disconnect between graduates and managers over the type of relationship that exists. ILM’s unique development model, the Knowing-Doing-Being framework, refl ects our understanding of what good leadership and management looks like at all levels of an organisation. When we apply the model to change management, the steps to future- proofi ng can be neatly categorised. n

The ILM framework

Knowing – understand the driving forces of change. Doing – talent-planning to develop people and resources. Being – modify your approach to deal with the new situation.

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