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From Zoom to Wide Angle: Taking a Broader Leadership Perspective

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When you move up from a management position into a senior leadership role, it is rarely a simple step up; rather, it is more of a quantum leap.

When you operate at a management level, you tend to take more of a micro view; your actions are relatively straightforward and are usually based on the factual data presented to you.

But when you are elevated to a position of leadership, the level of complexity is multiplied several times.

As a leader, you will often be faced with conflicting views and information, and in order to integrate all those potentially contradictory arguments, you need to process significantly more data. Even then, the data is likely to be incomplete – and it may always be that way – but somehow you have to make sense of it, and come up with the best possible outcome.

This is how we define a decision: it’s the result of your deliberations when the answer is not implicit in the facts.

Covid has further created a whole new layer of challenges for organisational leaders

A few years ago, we regularly talked about the commercial environment as being volatile, complex and uncertain, but we now realise what stable and predictable times they were!

The pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has forced business leaders to re-evaluate the ways they deliver their product or service to their audiences, and the entire basis for their organisational structure. They’ve had to reassess where and when they work, how they communicate with each other and their external prospects, clients and stakeholders. They have had to address a whole raft of new issues around the mental wellbeing of their employees caused by isolation and the lack of face-to-face interaction.

The entire culture of the organisation is likely to have been impacted by the changes we’ve all had to make. And even though we seem to be heading towards the tail-end of the pandemic here in the UK, the emergence of new variants, and the inevitable rise in infections over the winter have created levels of uncertainty that few people will have encountered before.

So how do you acquire the skills and experience to deal with such uncertainty?

It’s clear that the best leaders are people who have developed the skills and abilities to:

  • make the right decisions
  • make them as quickly as possible, and
  • make them with confidence.

In order for relatively newly-appointed leaders to hit the ground running, you need to acquire a whole new set of tools and techniques, and learn to ask the right questions.

Much of this comes from experience, but typically, experience takes a long time to acquire, and it may involve trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. Those mistakes can be costly, not only to your own personal reputation, but to the fortunes of the organisation, so it’s worth considering a few short cuts.

Henley’s Executive Management Programme (EMP) has been designed to enhance your leadership skills in a number of key areas:

  • through coaching and 360 feedback, it will help you to develop a greater awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, which is essential for ironing out any shortfalls in your capabilities
  • it uses workshops and live practical exercises to take you out of your comfort zone - challenging you to develop a more agile, analytical and objective mindset
  • it demonstrates coping methods that will allow you to embrace the uncertainty, and will show you the essential value of wellbeing, mindfulness and resilience
  • it will provide an integrated, holistic view of management that will enable you to synthesise conflicting interests in the best interests of the organisation long term, and develop more effective strategies for gaining a competitive advantage.

Delivered by business experts, academics and practitioners, EMP is aimed at anyone moving from a functional or operational management role into a position with more responsibility across the organisation, and helps to boost self-confidence, stretch your thinking and improve your performance.

We help people to increase their ability to engage with their peers, their teams, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. We empower them to inspire the people around them, and influence them in ways they could not have believed possible.

And by doing so, we prepare them for the challenges ahead, whatever they might be.

To learn more about Henley's Executive Management Programme, click here.

Narendra Laljani

Narendra Laljani is a management educator, consultant and CEO coach with 25 years' experience in leadership development and helping organisations to become more effective. He has worked at board level with international corporations and has also taught on several leading MBA programmes. He is Director of The Henley Partnership and the Executive Management Programme at Henley Business School.

Published 24 August 2021

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