Strengths, Skills and Self-Awareness: PA Media leaders improve their three ‘S’s

Leadership development programmes can be extremely effective ways of increasing the confidence and experience of upcoming and established leaders, helping them to inspire their teams and manage them more effectively. However, all too often these programmes focus solely on skills acquisition.

One of the real challenges for leaders (especially new ones) is the need to adjust to delivering through others. This requires a shift in thinking, as leaders must not only consider how to add value as individuals, but how to add value when leading others, and also how to do this in an empowering way. Therefore, alongside ‘skills’, programmes should also encompass two other ‘S’s – ‘strengths’ and ‘self-awareness’!

PA Media approached Azure Consulting to create two bespoke leadership development programmes intended to enable leaders to become fully equipped in their role. Azure team member Naomi Regan designed this programme largely based on her own experience of transitioning to leadership when she worked for a FTSE 100 organisation. Naomi said, “I distinctly remember the ill-equipped feeling I had when I first started leading teams, and wondering ‘how do I add value now if I am delivering through others?’ I used this experience, and the training I wish I’d received, to create these sessions for new and emerging leaders at PA Media.”

The programmes had a real focus on nurturing self-awareness, exploring strengths, and enabling leaders to consciously use these to bring about their best selves in order to confront the challenges of leadership. The programmes also aimed to achieve an increase in decisions being made at the right level in teams, with leaders delegating more effectively and holding their teams to account to ensure they can in turn focus on the right things themselves and resist always getting drawn into the detail.

Participants gained clarity on what is expected of them as leaders in PA Media, explored ways to enhance their personal leadership styles and learnt tools and techniques to help them embed their own style in order to increase their impact within the organisation. One particular part of one of the programmes that participants reported they got great value from was watching videos that we had recorded of leaders across different organisations (including PA Media themselves) talk about challenges they faced when transitioning to leadership and how they overcame these. “Inspiring”, “engaging” and “informative” were some of the most common words used by participants in their programme feedback.

Jess Hirst, PA Media’s Senior HR Business Partner, said, “Azure have a long standing relationship with PA and a solid understanding of our business. Working with Azure to personalise the course and make it specific to PA Media Group means that the skills learnt and developed by managers can be immediately applied in the workplace. We have received an abundance of positive feedback from those that attended.”

For information on how we can provide leadership development, including virtually, contact us here.

May 2020