Joanna Howes, Leadership and Performance Coach explores how the pandemic has forced a change in leadership style, and why this may not be a bad thing.
Leadership has changed and I believe for the better.
The feedback I am hearing from the leaders I work with is ‘I now see my team as individuals, I feel I know who they are and how I can be there for them.’
This is music to my ears; it is sad that it’s taken a pandemic to achieve this but I’m pleased we are seeing this shift.
So, what is going to happen when we can go back to some normality?
Are leaders going to be able to maintain this new sense of what it means to be a future-fit leader or will old habits creep back in?
The post pandemic world is going to see a different dynamic of some people working in the office and some staying at home. A whole new sense of autonomy and flexibility to choose how you work to enhance your performance will be available and for a lot of people this enables them to have the lifestyle they want.
The pandemic has given people ample time to reflect and the idea of going back to rushing around, traveling to and from work on the tube all squashed and sweaty, and not seeing your kids before they wake or go to bed is not something a lot of people will put up with anymore.
A future-fit leader is going to have new challenges to navigate to keep their staff motivated and willing to stay working for them. What will help with this is the newfound trust in people working from home and the increase in productivity that wasn’t expected.
Leadership doesn’t require the control and command anymore it requires, trust, empowerment and accountability.
What does this mean for leaders right now?
Leaders are going to need to understand human behavior, mindset and how to meet the needs of their teams at a higher level than ever expected before. Leadership training will now change for the better.
Focusing on tasks, goals and delivering performance reviews isn’t going to be the benchmark of excellence anymore.
Leaders are going to need to go inside themselves to find out who they really are, to be fully present for their teams. You can’t be a leader who expects your team to be self-aware, vulnerable and courageous if you are not demonstrating this yourself.
Change has always been a constant and now uncertainty is right up there as a daily challenge.
Leaders naturally seek certainty, predictability and sustainable solutions.
The leaders that are going to be leading us into the future are going to be able to trust they can handle uncertainty.
Working in a hybrid model is going to provide lots of opportunities and with it, uncertainty in how to make it work effectively.
The natural habit will be to want to see their teams and have people back in the office so they have control. Leaders need to fight this habit and be okay with not knowing exactly how it will work, to have a try and test mindset, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable, to embrace mistakes but see the learnings along the way.
Empowerment and trust is going to be the new driving force for successful businesses
Employees have proven that being given responsibility and trust they can deliver. If this starts to get taken away the risk is losing great talent and with the world changing as fast as it is and the pace of technology adoption increasing, looking after your talent is going to become a number one priority.
In 2030 it is predicted that 80% of the roles haven’t been invented yet.
Growing, nurturing and trusting your employees will be the key to maintaining your leadership success.