Insight / Opinion

What the journey to leadership looks like in the 2020s

What the journey to leadership looks like in the 2020s

 

I’m the youngest employee at Leadership Trust, currently doing a Marketing Apprenticeship; joining the business immediately after finishing my A-Levels, most would say I’m at the start of my journey to leadership.

With it being such a huge topic for many people, and organisations across the country, CEO’s have the challenge of keeping business’ afloat, while also keeping an eye on factors such as employee well-being, leading through change and succession planning.

I thought it would be interesting to connect with our CEO, Dr. Léa Cléret, to explore her thoughts on; leading a team during a crisis, being a woman in a leadership role, and the advice she would give to new leaders.

In the clip, Léa highlights how important it is for her, and certainly CEO’s across the country, to ensure that teams are connected and are fully aware of where the business is going. Preparing for the future, months, even years, down the line. This sort of future proofing, is important as it helps businesses to predict and prepare for the next crisis… and there will be another one. From cash flow problems, to a quick decline in morale, businesses are constantly having to face dilemmas that effect day to day activities.

 

This is a good transition into the next point…

I then spoke about how, many teams are going through periods of tough transition. Struggling with fundamental skills such as inter-departmental communication and silos. I wanted to find out from a CEO’s perspective whether it was the pandemic that has caused these issues, or, if it has merely brought them to the surface.

Our CEO’s opinion was that the pandemic has only really brought these issues closer to the surface. Showing us what works really well and what isn’t working so well. Teams have had to quickly move to working remotely. Communication is harder. There isn’t an opportunity to suddenly walk over to a colleague’s desk to ask them a question. The changes we have had to make have had huge consequences on businesses.

 

Journey to leadership and Crisis

 

However, many businesses have been struggling for a while now.  This pandemic has just been the push that was needed for teams to recognise that they have issues, and have the confidence to speak up and act on them.

Any Reflections?

Being part of Generation Z, the new workforce that is beginning to enter businesses across the country, there is a lot to be learnt from colleagues in leadership positions, before they can embark on their own journey to leadership. What obstacles have they faced along the way? The main reflections? Are there any changes they would make?

This was part of the next question I asked Léa. I wondered if there was any key preconceptions she has faced in her leadership journey as CEO. It was clear from her response that her main biases came from the fact she was a woman.

So what are the statistics?

Research suggests that “In 2020, only 5% of FTSE 100 CEOs are women, which means 95% are male.  (https://www.ig.com/uk/news-and-trade-ideas/top-female-ceos-ftse-100 )

With statistics like these, it’s not surprising that many Female CEO’s report that they have experienced some prejudice at work.

Think about it. What percentage ratio between males and females is there working in leadership roles within your business?

From the perspective of the “new generation”, I think there’s still significant room for change to be made. Not just by encouraging more women to take up leadership roles, but also, with the fact there is disparity between race and leadership. This is something my colleague, Tinuke, addresses in more detail, by sharing our pledge to increase diversity within our programmes. Read it here: https://www.leadershiptrust.co/love-the-dont-know/where-are-the-black-leaders-in-the-uk/

But, I do think there is a huge opportunity for this to change.

Many people my age, and older, have aspirations to move up the career ladder. But often, are unsure of how to get there. Lacking the confidence, unsure if they are fit for the role, or even not having the knowledge of how to get there.

Like me, I would guess that these are people who would want to work for, and possibly lead, an organisation that takes personal development, and the wellbeing of their employees seriously. However, quite often these workers need support from mentors/coaches.

At Leadership Trust, we see coaching as a personal and confidential service which helps leaders apply and embed their learning and tackle the specific situational requirements facing them and their leadership.

So what does this mean for aspiring leaders?

It means that our coaches will help provide “the toolkit”, if you like, to help you prepare and apply your learning back into the workplace. Whether that’s improving confidence or tackling imposter syndrome, this is an experience which is tailored and completely confidential.

Find more about the type of coaching we do at Leadership Trust by visiting: https://www.leadershiptrust.co/one-to-one-coaching/

Author

Kathryn Taylor

Digital Marketing Assistant

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