4 Unexpected Certifications Innovative Leaders Need To Pursue Now

As a leader, you know that you need to be learning every day if you want to grow and remain relevant. And when pursuing certifications to gain skills and stand out from your peers, you might be considering things like Project Management Certification (PMP) or becoming a Six Sigma blackbelt. Those are valuable certifications that can help you up your game, but we are living in very different times. And different times call for different strategies.

Work all went virtual at the flip of a switch thanks to Covid-19, and your people are still struggling to get comfortable with this new reality. According to a recent Gallup survey, burnout is all too common in the workplace right now. In fact, 27% of individual contributors reported being burned out very often or always. And it’s even worse for people managers. 35% of team leaders and 33% of project managers and experiencing burnout.

Now we’re moving into the hybrid work environment, creating even more demands on leaders. That means if you focus your development opportunities on skills that are tied to the current state of change and the new dynamics in your team, you’ll increase your success and provide greater leadership and support to your people. These human-centric certification programs will make you a better, more relatable and empathic leader and as a bonus help you stand out from others who are pursuing the more expected, traditional certifications:

Stress Reduction

According to neuroscience expert Dr. Patrick Porter, “Increased stress and anxiety has understandably caused work productivity to plummet because your emotional state is directly connected to your ability to focus.”

Stress Coach U helps you understand, recognize, and most importantly, reduce the stress of your people (and it helps you reduce your own stress, too). Program creator and stress expert Jordan Friedman says, “We all can and should be stress coaches for each other.” This online, go-at-your-own-pace course makes it easy to do that through a variety of data-driven techniques and tools, including a chill app you can use to keep the stress down and the engagement up with your team. There’s also an option to have your entire team go through the program together.

FlexJobs reports that “employed workers are more than three times as likely to report poor mental health now vs. before the pandemic and more than three-quarters agreed that workplace stress affects their mental health (i.e., depression or anxiety).” Adding a certification that’s focused on stress reduction and mindfulness will help you help your people increase their success while decreasing their stress during these anxious times.

Coaching

The Coaching Habit Certification helps you expand your coaching leadership style— a style that’s absolutely essential in the new world of work, where your people are seeking connection and validation. This program focuses on the seven essential questions leaders need to ask and how to use them while avoiding giving advice so you can remain curious. Leaders learn and use a practical tool to help them shift their behavior to proven coaching techniques. Once you complete the program, you’ll have experienced the transformative potential and long-term benefits of what program creator Michael Bungay Stanier calls “staying curious longer.” To ensure that curiosity-led behavior becomes an innate way of leading and interacting, the program provides tools and accountability systems that support real behavior change.

Strengths

The Strengths Coach Program from the Academies helps you learn coaching techniques that use three strengths assessments with the members of your team:

  • CliftonStrengths (this used to be called StrengthsFinder 2.0) 34 themes: They help you execute and get things done with ease.
  • VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS): What you learn from this tool helps bring meaning and purpose to your work and life.
  • Soul Strengths—this tool focuses on “that small voice within that guides, nudges and clarifies what you really want!”

This holistic approach honors the humanity within us and the people we lead, and epitomizes the coaching maxim that your people are creative, resourceful and whole. When you become an expert in strengths-focused tools and help your people use these tools, you help them validate their superpowers and give them permission to use the tools in support of their career and your team’s mission.

Personal Branding

The Personal Branding Certification program from Career Thought Leaders teaches you how to help your people uncover what makes them exceptional and use it to increase their engagement, satisfaction and the value they deliver to your team. When you understand the elements of personal branding and can help your people recognize and activate them, you help team members be more self-sufficient and confident. When each of your people is contributing their unique brand to your strategy, the entire team rises to a new level of performance. Personal branding is empowering, and your people can use this as fuel to increase their performance and enhance their mood.

Achieving these certifications yields two powerful benefits. First, you learn new, timely and relevant skills you can use to amp up your leadership, creating a higher-performing and engaged team. Second, you differentiate yourself from other leaders and make a giant deposit in your executive brand bank.

William Arruda is a keynote speaker, co-founder of CareerBlast.TV and creator of the 360Reach personal brand feedback survey which allows you to get the real scoop about your professional reputation from those who know you.

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