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Archive for the ‘Leadership Development’ Category

How To Use Jobsharing To Create Highly Effective Leaders

The following post is a guest blog I contributed to the Professional Academy in January 2015.  I thought it would be useful to share it.

Creating the right environment to develop effective leaders can be a challenge. Sara Horsfall from Jobshare specialists Ginibee shares her vision for using flexible working to fast-track leadership development.

We are experiencing a crisis in leadership development. The current system is not working, and many high performing employees who aren’t able to work long hours are being overlooked for leadership positions.

What if there was another option?

I specialise in creating successful Jobshare partnerships, and in my experience I have encountered many high performing, high profile partnerships, where leadership roles are shared. Many of the key attributes of good leaders are essential for effective Jobsharing.

What if there was a requirement for Jobsharing as part of leadership training for both full-time and part-time employees? I believe this would help to bridge the leadership gap and produce improved opportunities for leadership development, compatible with career flexibility.

Leadership crisis in management

The leadership crisis

A survey by Human Resources blog TLNT in October 2014 revealed 42% of executives say company growth plans are “slowed by lack of access to the right leadership”.

And there is considerable dissatisfaction with the state of leadership despite significant investment.

Clearly, something needs to change.

We know that women account for only 20.7% of board positions despite many having the necessary skills. What if there was a way to ensure more women were given opportunities to prove and use their leadership skills even if they weren’t able to work full-time? And this doesn’t just apply to women. What about people preparing for retirement, or caring for a relative?

What makes a good leader?So what makes a good leader?

The subject of leadership can be a tricky one that is interpreted in many different ways, which perhaps contributes to the level of dissatisfaction that exists.

A survey by TLNT suggested that communication skills and humility are the top two leadership traits.

So how do developing leaders learn and practice these skills? And how do organisations create the opportunity for both men and women to practice these skills at all levels and at all points in their career, whether they’re working part-time or full-time?

Is job-sharing for you?Could Jobsharing be the answer?

I’d like you to imagine an organisation where leadership development and flexible working are harmonious. Where ‘required Jobsharing’ is an essential part of practicing important leadership skills ‘on the job’.

Employees who work full-time can share more than one role. In other words, ‘required Jobsharing’ not only develops leaders who want to work full-time and can share more than one role, but it offers a career development opportunity to those who need to work part-time through Jobsharing a career role.

Using Jobsharing in this way increases the pool of candidates for potential leadership roles and encourages equality, diversity and flexibility throughout the company.

How to integrate Jobsharing into your leadership development programme?

  • Open up all full-time leadership roles to applications from Jobshare partnerships.
  • Empower and enable employees to find and create Jobshare partnerships.
  • Actively support shared objectives, identity and accountability as a way of demonstrating strong leadership skills
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Jobsharing and Leadership: The Perfect Match

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My experience and research into Jobsharing has uncovered an important connection between the key traits of successful Leaders and those of successful Jobshare Partnerships.

Read more about my views and research on this in my recent guest blog post for 1 Million for Work Flexibilty

Jobsharing and Leadership, in Harmony

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Since finding out that Communication and Humility are the top two traits of effective leaders (TLNT 2013), I have been wondering how much companies spend on “team building” and leadership development.  In my research, I have come across a couple of key stats; first that the UK “corporate hospitality” industry (which incorporates team building) is worth £1.5 billion (Fresh Business Thinking; January 2013) and second that in the US, companies are spending an average of $706 per learner on team building (TLNT 2013).

Add to this the result of a survey by Vodafone and YouGov, which suggests workers feel that organized team building activities can be a complete waste of time (Vodafone 2013) and another article, that claims workers would much prefer to be able to communicate with each other better at work than be forced to build rapport with co-workers by sharing “adrenaline” experiences or “trust” exercises (telegraph Feb 2012).

Combining the evidence I have come across so far, it appears that organisations are spending a lot of money on programmes which aren’t considered effective by their audience.  Surely, there has to be a more effective solution for businesses investing in developing their leaders. Something which challenges employees to improve communication, a new challenge which still focuses on their day to day role.

My research into Jobsharing so far, has uncovered that far from creating new challenges within organisations, Jobsharing simply brings to the surface issues inherent within all organisations, and indeed in personal relationships.  A successful Jobshare tests effective communication, organisation, and importantly, humility; the ability to learn from another and take on board the ideas of others to come up with a way forward together.  All of which are crucial traits of effective leaders.

Perhaps therefore, a period of “required jobsharing” would be an effective addition to a leadership development programme?  This could be with someone in a different department, someone phasing into retirement, or new skills being brought into an organisation part-time as a Jobshare.  Importantly, Jobsharing doesn’t have to be restricted to part-time, personally, I have experience of working a Jobshare full-time and part-time.  Incorporating Required Jobsharing into Leadership development would be a development opportunity for both full-time and part-time candidates.

Imagine a workplace where flexible working and leadership development were harmoniously supported. Bingo!

Why Don’t Adults Share At Work?

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In my quest to understand why Jobsharing isn’t a more popular employment strategy, I recently guest blogged for 1 Million for Work Flexibility asking the question why don’t adults practice at work what we preach to children about sharing?   Don’t get me wrong, shared objectives and a common goal are all familiar concepts in the work environment, but when it comes to sharing our job in terms of accountability and role identity, as is the case with a Jobshare, we seem to shy away.  Why could this be?

read the rest of my blog at workflexibility.org  

Should Jobsharing be part of Leadership Development?

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In a survey carried out last year by TLNT, Communication and Humility were voted as key traits of effective leaders.  Similarly, in accounts of Jobshare success we hear about the need for effective communication and humility.  Why therefore, is Jobsharing not integral to leadership development in our workplace as opposed to an exception to the rule?

Currently, Jobsharing is occasionally considered as a last resort when someone (usually a parent) wants to return to their role part-time after maternity or paternity leave.  Instead, I believe Jobsharing should be an essential part of leadership programmes within organisations, an important part of investing in people and a practical way of honing key skills which every organisation could benefit from.   Imagine a workplace where as part of your leadership development, or personal development you were expected to spend a period of time as part of a jobshare, either with someone in a different department /outside the organisation  /someone more senior who is phasing their work schedule for retirement.  Would this make for a more versatile and diverse workplace, encouraging collective intelligence and employment programmes for employees throughout their career?

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