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Whether you’re an entrepreneur who has been in business for many years, or someone who has recently opened a venture and is ready to start employing your first staff members, it’s important to stay on top of leadership trends.

Knowing the latest ideas, technologies, practices and processes which are affecting leadership and overall business results is imperative when you need to hire the right people, place them in the best positions for their abilities, and generally get the best out of your team. Read on for three key leadership trends you need to know about.

Increasing Investment in Training and Other Development

Due to the constant evolution in technology and disruption of industries these days, it’s more important than ever for people leading teams to continually update their knowledge and skills. As a result, a current leadership trend that doesn’t seem likely to dissipate soon is that of a bigger investment in training and other types of professional development.

In order for workers to be able to keep up with changes and to adapt quickly, more and more companies are paying (either partially or completely) for their top leaders to enroll in higher degrees, especially options like online MBA programs in California and other areas around the country. Other popular degrees right now are in topics such as marketing, data science, and communication.

There is also more of a focus on in-house training programs for managers, department heads and other leaders. Businesses are using online training advances to simultaneously teach teams, who may be spread around the world, about industry updates, new computer programs, HR topics and many other things. In addition, lots of firms are spending more money on bringing in informative, motivational speakers to improve morale, increase productivity, and train staff on specific subjects.

Mentorships, either run internally or externally, are also proving to be popular. These can be really helpful when it comes to training up future leaders, by pairing younger or more inexperienced workers with long-term, accomplished leaders. Employee exchanges between firms are also becoming more common.

Technological developments also mean that it is easier than ever for learning programs to be tailored to individual wants and needs. Employees can optimize training to suit their particular learning style, interests, goals and pace. Furthermore, bite-sized segments, on specific topics, can be covered in short bursts of time to cater to busy workers, instead of requiring people to commit hours or even days at a time. This not only suits the way people work now, but also allows team members to fill in gaps in their knowledge as and when needed, without having to allocate huge amounts of time to more general education.

Cross-Pollination and Sharing of Ideas

Many companies have also cottoned on to the fact that more innovative ideas and solutions to problems can come about when employees from diverse departments and locations come together to swap opinions, brainstorm, and give feedback. As such, there is an increasing focus on cross-pollination and the sharing of ideas.

Now, instead of continually keeping employees separated into different areas based on their job function or location, businesses are enabling workers to move across the organization. This allows people to see, first hand, how interesting ideas are being used in other parts of the firm. It also helps workers get an overall, and in-depth, understanding of what is happening across the entire operation.

Leaders do, after all, need to have an awareness of a firm’s overall internal and external environments and practices if they want to be able to do their job effectively. With more knowledge comes the ability to make better decisions more quickly, and to become aware of potential opportunities or threats as early as possible. With cross-pollination, teams can also quickly become more positive and cohesive, since knowledge sharing allows people to develop better relationships, and to feel more invested in their company.

More Agile, Flexible Work Practices

Lastly, while we’ve already seen a huge growth in the number of employees working, or asking to work, remotely, and/or to choose more flexible hours over recent years, agility is only going to become more important in the future.

Leaders are going to have to be increasingly open to not only working with teams around the globe, but also to hiring larger numbers of independent contractors and consultants. Interestingly, full-time employment is losing its shine as workers consider the convenience and productivity possibilities of flexible working arrangements.

Leaders should also be looking at ways to leverage technology to create agile workplaces where employees can enjoy a more digital and automated experience on the job. For example, labor-intensive and often boring jobs can now increasingly be handled by computers, while big data can reduce the time taken to compile research, reports, analyze findings and the like. To keep staff members engaged and loyal, leaders have to recognize that making tasks easier for people is the way of the future.

 

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