According to a recent (2015) survey by Korn Ferry, the top development leadership themes for C-suite executives are:
- interpersonal relationships and empathy
- leading through change
- communication skills
- motivation and engagement
- building effective teams
- strategy and strategic thinking
- working with ambiguity and decision making
- mentoring and developing others
Focus areas for other management levels were similar, with self-awareness, influencing and communication all consistently identified as top focus areas.
Research conducted by Hay Group in 2011 identified that the essential, all-encompassing development area for leaders is the need to develop others. In practice however this tends to fall consistently to the bottom of the priority list as it does in the Korn Ferry survey. The twin demands of global business and fast moving technology in the 21st century mean that leaders and organisations ignore this area at their peril.
In our coaching experience working both with Cambridge and London businesses, and with those in Asia and Europe, we share this observation. This is particularly prevalent in senior executives from highly specialist backgrounds such as technology, science, law and finance. In our experience, such executives often routinely fail to grasp that these so-called 'softer' skills are at least as important as the technical skills they are more comfortable with [Tweet this].
This brings us rather neatly back to the top priority area, 'self awareness', which has been an increasingly common focus area in our work over the last eighteen months or so. Encouragingly in our practice we typically find that as we help to build self-awareness (for example, working to develop an understanding of the mental models we use, our beliefs and assumptions, of how we 'tick' and experience the world), it also brings about a strong realisation of the essential nature and power of this new mindset and accordingly, an increased tendency to foster growth in others.
Question: How do these development themes relate to the main focus areas in your business? You can leave a comment below - we'd love to hear from you.