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5 Skills Leaders Need to Develop for the Future

“Mitch, time heals all wounds. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to ignore it.”

I remember hearing that advice for the first time in high school and thinking I had just struck gold. If I simply stop giving my attention to the things I’m stressing about in my teenage life, those problems will go away! 

Oh, young Mitch. Do you know what’s great for wounds? Antibiotics. 

You’ve probably heard that saying before too. The problem is that “time heals all wounds” is mostly bad advice! The truth is that most wounds need care. Time won’t heal massive credit card debt, the lump that you found on your lymph node, or a failing relationship. You have to set up that repayment plan, schedule that doctor’s appointment, make amends with that person. 

Another wound that time won’t heal is the development gap that persists for future leaders.

A recent study from DDI surveyed 13,695 leaders from 1,556 organizations across the world and found that very few leaders are getting the development they need to meet key challenges in these areas: 

  1. Identifying/Developing Future Talent
  2. Strategic Thinking 
  3. Managing Successful Change
  4. Decision-Making Prioritization 
  5. Influencing Others 

If that seems like a wide range, it should! Identifying these areas illustrates that we have a serious problem. If our leaders aren’t getting development in these areas, we have a wound that isn’t healing. In fact, it’s getting worse. Take a look at this graphic from the DDI study:

The percentage gap that exists between the leaders who identify an area as critical and those that have actually received training in that area is substantial. In other words, our leaders see this stuff as important, but haven’t had the training to do it well. In fact, the same study shows that only 12% of leaders say they’re effective in all five areas, and just 29% of companies are training people in these skills. 

Imagine what would happen if this “wound” is left alone:

  1. If we can’t identify future talent, our talent pool obviously suffers years down the road. But if we can’t develop the people that we have now, our talent with potential will eventually find somewhere else to work. Today’s development problems become tomorrow’s talent problems. 
  2. If our leaders don’t think strategically, everyone suffers by following their lead. Our strategy gets stale and dies out. 
  3. Change is inevitable. And if we don’t know how to manage it when it comes our organizations will fail to reinvent in a changing world. If we don’t reinvent, we’ll fall flat. 
  4. Decision making in leadership is about more than what to have for dinner. If we can’t identity which decisions need to take priority, we will inevitably have important ones fall by the wayside. 
  5. Maybe the most important area of all is this idea of influencing others. If our leaders don’t have influence, they’re missing their most important tool. If they don’t have the ability to make change happen, leadership stops all together. 

In short, if this wound is left untouched, infection will set in. Simply put, we have to close the gap. When we do, we’ll develop great talent, create lasting change, and grow in influence. Not only that, but we’ll prevent burnout and create better places to work. But simple doesn’t mean easy. Closing the gap is easier said than done, and time alone won’t make it work. We need some kind of solution. 

That’s why Pattern Talent exists. Pattern coaching gets your leaders the development they need to close the gap in critical areas. Leaders who are effective in all five areas are 2x more likely to feel energized about their work, and 4x more likely to seek out additional ways to contribute to their organization beyond their job requirements.

Many times organizations see the benefit, but don’t have the time or resources to develop all five skills. But our Pattern coaches do, and that’s where we come in. 

Time won’t heal the wound that exists for our future leaders, but good coaching will. Visit patterntalent.co to learn how Pattern Talent can set your leaders up for success. 

December 16, 2023


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