Post Pandemic Shakeup: The Future of Leadership
In our last article we discussed how the pandemic has changed employee engagement, and what it’ll look like going forward. But of course, if the approach to employee engagement requires rethinking, so does leadership. And even if employee engagement is the last thing on your mind (which hopefully it isn’t), the new world of work, and changing employee and consumer needs, will force leaders to reconsider their approach. The truth is, traditional leadership has been seriously challenged all round, not just because of remote working – there is so much more to consider, which may change how we think about leadership forever:
Leaders need to think ahead and think big
Leaders possess many rare characteristics. They’re visionaries who have the power to inspire and uplift those around them; they’re attuned to the strengths and weaknesses of those they lead which helps them to make sound strategic decisions. While these characteristics are imperative, leaders need to consider their strategic positions in an even greater (more global) context:
- how does the team/organisation’s vision align with where the world is headed particularly in terms of consumer and employee needs?
- What about the war on talent? Are leaders doing enough to keep their people happy, and are they attracting the right people?
- What are the needs of employees internally and externally?
- How can value be created right now within teams to achieve goals quicker, with less error and at a lower cost?
Leaders need to focus on the human elements of change
We’re living in a digital age and the pandemic has only accelerated just how much we rely on technology. In the last year, leaders have not only had to quickly navigate new technologies and rely on them to successfully lead their teams, but have had to consider what this extreme reliance has meant for their teams’ emotional and mental wellbeing, productivity, engagement and more. Beyond technology, how does remote working affect their people? How do these monumental shifts (in the workplace and within people’s personal lives) affect employees and how does this affect their work? Leaders need to be aware of the human element of change – and although this has always been important, the pandemic has demonstrated just how critical it is to understand employee emotion and wellbeing.
Leaders need to be led by values and drive the change needed in the workplace
Values don’t only provide employees and the entire organisation with clarity on who they are, what they stand for and where they’re going, but informs future talent too. It has largely been the responsibilities of leaders to remind the organisation of their values and live and lead with them in mind. But we’re beginning to see an urgent need for more – employees no longer want to hear about company values, they want to see them being practised every day. They want action, and they want their leaders to drive the change that’s needed in the workplace. Employees want greater diversity and inclusion, a consideration for mental and emotional wellbeing, fair and equal pay, support for women employees. Leaders need to rethink their traditional approach to leadership and building organisations, and consider the human needs of their people and greater social needs of the world.
Innovation and experimentation is fast becoming a critical characteristic
So much has changed and will continue to change which is why leaders have had to be risk averse as well as innovative and experimentative. Leaders have had to think of new things to try in order to use their people to their full potential and lead in the way best way they can – and this is not stopping any time soon. Leaders will have to be continuously looking for tools and techniques to drive performance and productivity and to gather data for greater decision making. Pulse surveys, for example is one such tool that’ll help leaders accelerate their mission and vision and achieve results.