How Can Young Professionals Develop Better Leadership and Management Skills?

I have had numerous opportunities to learn and experience much related to the leadership and management of organizations in my career. During this time I always enjoyed both the learning and the experience in the moment.

As I have worked for other organizations in an advisory, coaching and training role, I began to appreciate the magnitude of my prior learning and experiences as many younger professionals and business owners have asked me how they can modify or improve their own leadership and management practices.

I understand that these experiences are distinctly mine, built from my professional and life perspective. In many respects, these perspectives influenced the way I anticipated and responded to a variety of leadership and management challenges – from leading and directing groups of employees to developing a response action to natural disasters. At the time I was not fully aware of why I was able to respond effectively to these varied challenges. I do now.

Depending on the role I was occupying at the time, others with whom I worked expected a clear analysis of a situation, the presentation and justification of alternatives, and decisive action. Additionally, I understand the importance of planning, learning how to lead others effectively, and organizing work better by establishing processes and procedures.

I also understand that while I can “teach” others how to plan, to lead, to organize, to communicate, etc., the “teaching” will be ineffective unless I can develop a way to connect this information to the perspectives of those with whom I am working.

I understand now that establishing an effective connection for these leadership and management principles requires that young professionals and business owners understand how the strength of their own individual perspectives can uncover and unleash their latent leadership and management talents.

Some time ago, one of my clients expressed her frustration in getting her employees to understand her instructions and to “put in a full day’s work.” She expressed continued frustration in having to do the work herself because her staff “just didn’t get it.”

After review, it became clear she directed her staff the way she had learned – demanding, reprimanding and shouting at her staff, as her managers had done to her. Quite frankly, she understood the way to manage from her own experiences – albeit not positive ones – what I call “old-school managing.”

My coaching process with her was straightforward. We discussed what was important to her, what she valued, and what her strengths and talents were. As she became more self-aware she also began to understand what she needed to do to become more authentic. She identified how she could establish a more focused direction for her company, she understood she needed to become more comfortable in her role, and she felt more connected in her position as the owner.

After working with her over several sessions on the “why” and “how to” of managing, she became more aware of her talents and abilities, and she began to notice that her employees became more productive in their daily tasks.

This situation is similar to a number of advisory and coaching situations I have experienced over the years to discuss with clients how they can use their abilities to develop more aligned organizations, and to develop more effective leadership and management practices.

As I continue to work with businesses, I find that successful businesses make sure that they understand how to develop alignment within the business by communicating with employees their vision, mission, purpose AND by asking employees their own perspective on the company vision, mission, and purpose. They plan together.

I understand that owners consider it important to identify both for themselves and for their employees their respective talents, motivations, preferred behaviors and technical skills so that these can be more fully incorporated into the company’s culture. They understand that doing the right things right can mean different things to different people. Every person is motivated differently – and every person motivates differently.

I understand that communicating, coaching and counseling require constant effort and focus. In business, effective communication with others is necessary in order for that business to be successful – however success is defined for that business. The necessity to communicate can be wrapped around one’s perspective, their motivation, professional standards, and even their personality. I understand that owners who are effective and efficient at communicating, coaching and counseling their employees benefit from the productivity and profit that envelop their company.

Finally, I understand that the one constant to our business environment is change. You may not get a chance to determine when change occurs, but you can learn to manage it. As young professionals and business owners appreciate this fact, they can bring themselves and their organization through the variety of regular challenges facing their business.

Practical experience suggests that owners and employees who work together to create meaningful change processes can and do increase company productivity and profit.

If you are a young professional or business owner, do you know your talents, your skills, your reasons and your way? Can you increase your self-awareness and authenticity – can you modify your role to become a better leader and manager? What is your belief that you can get there?