Don’t Put Your Career into Lockdown
Wherever you are in the world, much will have changed in your company in the last six months: ways of working, communicating, the needs and focus of clients, stakeholders and staff.
Whether you are anticipating a return to the office or not, working life is different.
Priorities have shifted. Collaboration, teamwork, negotiation now have different parameters.
Promotion may be on the ‘back burner’, ‘not in this quarter or maybe next financial year’.
That shouldn’t mean you pause your career aspirations or delay professional development.
If you are interested in taking on leadership roles then this is a good time to develop your skills and look out for opportunities.
First, reflect on the range of styles and approaches that are current in your organisation, what needs to be different to meet changes at work, and, most importantly, what you can offer to achieve this.
If you want to take on more leadership responsibilities, start by answering the following questions:
- What makes a good leader in your company?
- How do you know?
- What are considered to be the most relevant skills?
- Do you think they are the same skills for all leaders across the organisation?
Your answers to these questions will enable you to define leadership where you work.
Consider what is now different about the demands and expectations of leaders since March.
As a guide, how do you answer the following questions:
- What has changed in the ways you work?
- Have expectations of leaders and potential leaders changed?
- Have expectations of staff changed?
- What does this mean now in this context/department/set of circumstances?
You could share these questions and your answers as a basis for discussions with colleagues.
What about the leaders of the future?
If the context has changed then the current styles of leadership may not be as relevant or appropriate.
Certain characteristics and skills may now be more important than before.
- Being able to take a holistic view and know when to focus in on specific issues
- Knowing the difference between being strategic, proactive and responsive
- Having communication skills that are effective face to face and on-line
- Building on individual and team strengths
Recognising those people who have such attributes and the value they offer is essential to shifting perceptions of leadership roles.
These skills may not all be found in one individual - and it is here that companies can strengthen their governance, management and leadership by broadening the leadership approach and diversifying teams.
Back to you… What do you think is and will be relevant to your career, your current and future working context?
- What are you good at?
- What do you do well?
- What do you feel you need to work on?
- Take some time to identify those skills you need to develop and the ways you can gain experience to increase your competence and who can support you.
- Identify projects that would support your development needs.
- Create an achievable action plan with timescales
- Break down the big ideas into achievable activities
- Share your plan with those who need to know so they can give you support and feedback
- Now ……. START…