Effective leadership is difficult to develop, especially for young professionals new to a managerial career. Here are five leadership insights to help you increase your leadership competence and maximise your organisational influence.
1. Get to know your organisation
Every company has its own issues – be they political, cultural or social. Get to know the ones affecting yours. This may involve understanding diverse agendas, such as the unique priorities and problems that other departments, senior managers and executives face or perceive. Understand your organisation’s mission and values; assess how it delivers for its customers and the challenges it faces in executing that mission. Then position yourself accordingly to get your job done in a way that benefits business performance both in the short and the long term.
2. Don’t be afraid to be different
Established organisations tend to have legacy systems, processes and ideas that can make it more difficult for them to operate efficiently in fast-moving contexts. For example, is an excessively bureaucratic process getting in the way of you delivering your projects? Challenge the status quo by thinking about what can be done differently. Use your innovative, fresh thinking to offer new perspectives which could lead to new initiatives that create positive organisational impact.
3. Listen and recognise
Leadership is about listening to others, understanding diverse issues and playing to your strengths whilst being mindful of your weaknesses. Create an open forum in your team for ideas and suggestions rather than favouring doing it “your way”. Ask yourself, who’s good at what in your team, then delegate fairly to get the job done in an effective way. Recognise individuals’ contributions as this will help you win their respect and support.
4. Make time to network
Connecting with other professionals about business issues is a great way to innovate and develop best practices. Liaise with colleagues to build a business-level perspective or look outside your organisation or industry to develop a wider, external perspective. Take the opportunity to join groups within your organisation which are non-work related to increase your social capital. Make the most of tools like LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, influencers and organisations in your field. Arrange informal meetings, go to networking events and attend conferences.
5. Carry on learning
Expanding your knowledge will develop your personal and professional skills. Invest time and effort in your own personal development. Find a mentor to aid your personal development, volunteer either at work or outside, read and study outside your workplace, and sign up to a leadership development course to engage with like-minded professionals.
Cranfield's General Management Portfolio of programmes offers comprehensive leadership development to take you to the next level at every stage of your career.
Each of our three programmes offer a comprehensive and integrated personal development experience for managers at critical transition points in their leadership career.
Talent Development Programme - for early career professionals with high managerial potential.
General Management Programme - for senior managers who are expanding their responsibilities.
Breakthrough Leadership Programme - for executives and directors who are preparing their organisation for the future.
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