The new year is officially here, and if you’re like many of our clients, you’ve probably set a few goals or resolutions for personal and professional growth in 2022. Each year, our clients tell us what they’re looking to achieve, and we help them map out how to get there. Usually, those goals vary – from getting a promotion to writing a book. But recently, we noticed a very interesting shift. The majority want the same goal this year – to become stronger leaders. And they’re not alone! Nearly 64% of employees say learning and development is now a “need to have” job requirement. While many believe their companies should provide the support and tools to help them reach their Next Level, we encourage our clients to take responsibility for their own growth as well.
Ultimately, whether you’re investing in yourself or investing in your team, it can pay off tremendously in the long run. Here’s how you can advocate for yourself, or if you’re a member of a leadership team, how you can support your employees in becoming stronger leaders this year:
Be Assertive: If you’re a top performer looking to grow as a leader, start by having a conversation with your manager. Ask what the organization’s policy is – do they offer leadership development resources through the company or will they provide funding if you’d like to attend a conference or take a course that helps you grow within your career? If the answer is “yes,” take advantage of those opportunities and figure out how to get involved.
Get Creative: If your company doesn’t offer any development opportunities or financing, don’t let that stop you. Get creative and invest in other opportunities. For instance, check out our Signature Leadership Summits. These unique and transformational sessions are designed for C-suite and senior-level executives, emerging leaders and high-potential employees, and they allow you the opportunity to refine your skills, learn practical strategies and network with other top performers.
In addition, books like “ON Point” and “The Crooked Rim” by Founder Pam Borton and “WOMAN UP!” by Founder Aimee Cohen are excellent resources that set you on the path to success. You can also get involved with professional associations or take classes online or at your nearest college. There are plenty of ways you can take the initiative and learn valuable skills to become a stronger leader.
Have Meaningful Conversations: If you’re a member of a leadership team and want to encourage your employees to develop as leaders, it’s important to begin by having meaningful conversations with them. When you’re speaking with an employee one-on-one, take time to go beyond tactical topics. Instead of just asking about deliverables and how a project is going, ask what each employee’s goals are and where they see themself in the organization over time. This will help you customize your approach to the individual.
Know the Options: If an employee tells you they want to grow and evolve within the company, it’s important to be well-informed about what options are available for their development. Do you have a mentorship program that allows employees to take on a leadership role with one of their colleagues? Does your company offer Leadership Academies that are tailored specifically to your style and mission? These can be incredibly beneficial at developing high-performing employees, creating a collaborative leadership culture, elevating your team and attracting and retaining top talent.
The companies we work with that are doing it best are walking the walk. They invest in growth and development from an individual, team and organizational level. They genuinely want to see people climb in their careers, and they back their employees’ goals emotionally and financially. Businesses who walk the walk when it comes to employee development have higher retention rates and pick up quality hires. When people feel valued, they add more value to the company.
As we kick off 2022, consider the impact professional growth and learning can have on yourself, your employees and your overall businesses. As an organization, you’re making your team stronger, and you’re showing your employees they’re capable and worthy of advancement opportunities. If you’re working for a company that doesn’t offer leadership development opportunities, don’t make excuses – create your own journey. The benefits are worth it!