Step Change Learning

Why leaders need to stay ahead of the game

Being ahead of the game encapsulates having a mindset that is ready to address concepts that arise before they reach the table.

It’s guaranteed that by the time we decide to change jobs and leave a company we’ve been with for several years, the outside world will have advanced its thought processes, systems, products, and services, and we’ll need to learn new things from scratch. With Millennial’s forming a large percentage of the modern workforce, bringing a wealth of complex ideas, lack of patience, a keenness to learn on the job and forward-thinking attitudes with them, leaders need to ensure they are always ahead of the game to move their companies forward at the pace set by the outside world.

However, that’s not to say leaders must know more than their staff. Being ahead of the game encapsulates having a mindset that is ready to address concepts that arise before they reach the table, being prepared to take on challenges without hesitation, being alert to the speed of change and not fearing differences in thought that employees may bring to the company. It means constantly finding ways to up-skill and learn, absorb surrounding influences and be picky with the information we want to adopt. But, above all, it’s about staying focused on your vision, and a heightened self-awareness, as a leader is the foundation of success no matter what curveballs are thrown your way.

With a plethora of information at everyone’s fingertips these days, leaders cannot afford to be living in legacy days with the ‘old gold’ systems running their ship. Minds must remain open to the infinite possibilities for growth that external influences and personal changes can provide.

If you’re a leader looking for some ways to get into the ‘change zone’, and start getting ahead of the game, here are some ideas to get you started.

Practical tips for leaders to stay ahead:

  • Read / have news apps on your phone on business news from around the world
  • Limiting yourself to national business news can be great for general knowledge, but there is always someone doing things better than you overseas. Fill your brain with tips and tricks from other companies who are on the path you wish to take.
  • Get inspired by international brands to raise the bar on your leadership brand, impacting your company brand.
  • Research how your competitors are performing (don’t spend too much time on this, keep focused on your business)
  • Learn about their strengths and weaknesses so you can understand what NOT to do.
  • Decipher ideas you can draw inspiration from and see if you can address your clients in a different way.
  • Make sure your Leadership USP is obvious – no one should need to ask you what it is. Every leader should know their USP inside out. Being able to reel this off the tip of your tongue will give you a strong, confident feeling and constantly remind you about what you are trying to achieve.
  • Assess your daily rhythm and see where changes are needed
  • If you find yourself overwhelmed with menial tasks that aren’t advancing you, your team or company, consider hiring a people that compliment your strengths to assist you and free up your mind for new things.
  • Look for ways to innovate. Every company has something unique to offer the world in one form or another, but if we simply rely on our products to sustain us forever, we’ll quickly grow stale.
  • Ask for advice from those above you, and get a coach
  • You can never really know enough – especially considering the speed of change. Seek out mentors, coaches, and other key people in and outside of your industry. Feed your mind with inspirational, motivational stories of people who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Analyse the steps they took along their journey.
  • Be genuinely interested in your employees and their quirks 
  • Employees will give so much more of themselves and feel compelled to share their knowledge when they feel appreciated. You never know what they might know!
  • Be curious about, and excited by the future of work and your place in it
  • If you think your role isn’t going to change in the near future, think again. Why swim against the stream when the water wants to take you with it?
  • Maximise automation, get the right systems in place and automate as much as possible. If you’re still swimming in paperwork, consider digitalising and automating your core systems. Free up your time, people and brain!

Modern leadership requires a lot more flexibility, preparedness for disruption, and innovative thinking. If you let yourself be led by legacy ways of doing things, and don’t recognise the need for speed, you’ll bring your company down with you.

Upgrading yourself as a leader is not something to be feared or recognised as a daunting task. Look into our Authentic Leadership Masterclass to start your new journey.

Above all be good to yourself and your wellbeing. Connect with any questions you have… Stepchange Leadership Solutions – Eloise Tzimas, Director and Founder