The Creative Side of Leadership Development

March 7, 2014  |  Posted by in Leadership Development

Of all the skills and characteristics a successful manager must possess, problem-solving is likely the most important, as it can be applied to such a wide variety of daily responsibilities. Businesses must ensure that their leadership development programs include several components that further boost a new manager’s ability to troubleshoot in a natural and creative fashion.

Thinking outside of the box can have a variety of benefits, especially in terms of operational performance improvements, employee engagement and general innovation. Through creatively sculpted and dynamic leadership development programs, enterprises can ensure that all of their new and longer-tenured managers and supervisors have the skills they need to keep the ball rolling in the right direction from the top down.

Focus on communication
Although technical skills training is certainly important for a manager in virtually any organization, as he or she needs to know the inner workings of products and services offered, communication and other soft skills can be leveraged to ensure long-term innovation. Paula Ketter, writing for The American Society for Training and Development, recently explained several reasons why soft skills training is so important, with a specific focus on strategic thinking and business acumen.

According to the author, the global work environment, which is characterized by ever-evolving markets and increasingly diverse workforce members, demands that leaders possess exceptional soft skills. Whereas communication several decades ago was relatively simple, with many businesses only working in one region and with a relatively consistent staff base, it is far more erratic and complex today.

As such, communication and other soft skills need to be developed in a more robust and dynamic fashion to ensure leaders are cultivating innovative cultures. Ketter quoted Jim Concelman and Mark Phelps, who recently discussed the language of leadership. The authors asserted that the common language of leadership should be a focus during managerial training programs.

Acumen leads to innovation
When the leaders of a given firm are exceptional communicators, they will be better positioned to keep conversations and collaboration moving in the right direction among their team members. As collaboration is the single most important act when it comes to innovation, this should be a major priority for executives who are formulating training programs.

One of the best ways to ensure that a new manager is properly prepared to handle the communication-based aspects of his or her position is to include mentoring and transitionary components into the leadership development process.

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