Investment is up in 2023 for corporate leadership development. That’s because today’s leaders are not just managers of tasks. They are required to be advocates for their team, strong communicators and emotionally intelligent to develop and retain staff. This shift towards human-centered leadership isn’t a surprise, and seems a fitting response to 3 years of perpetual changes that have worn on employees. Even the Great Reshuffling (Great Resignation isn’t exactly accurate) hasn’t changed the importance of a leader being able to connect authentically with the team. And yet, the balance of ROI and ROR (return on relationship) is one that a lot of managers struggle to find.
Just the other day, my friend who works in finance and oversees a team of 20 in 5 different states couldn’t help but complain about the different needs of different teammates all of which seemed to contrast to the bottom-line of the company. Like a good friend, I did a lot of listening and then asked permission before I shared advice. My advice to him was simple: do whatever it takes to support your team. While it may feel like to him like he is doing a disservice to the company by focusing on the team as opposed to quarterly earnings, I told him that his focus on the people behind the company will help support them in the long run. The cost of employee turnover is far higher than a few missed sales goals. And who knows his team may not have the most productive quarter, but by focusing on and advocating for their needs, he’ll have earned credibility, trust and loyalty. He didn’t ask me where I learned all of my leadership skills, and I’m kicking myself for not sharing with him about the kind of Team Building, Facilitation and Leadership Development programs we are offering at Spark4…but there’s always next time.
Drew DeMarie, Director of Leadership Development at Spark4