Remote work culture has become prevalent across the world in a post-pandemic world. Even after organisations have devised return-to-work plans, people still have the option to work from home. Many of them are opting for work from home to balance their personal and professional lives. However, this trend has led to a blurring of the lines between work and personal life, as managers may be checking their work emails or taking work calls even after office time gets over.
According to research by the University of Florida, the University of Arizona and Florida State University, managers who disconnected from their jobs at home felt more refreshed the next day and they turned out to be efficient managers.
“Traditionally, there has been a cultural expectation in India that work is prioritised over personal life, which has resulted in many managers being expected to remain constantly connected to their work even outside of regular working hours. However, this expectation is slowly shifting, and there is now a greater emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility,” says Amit Sahoo, Vice President, Global Head of Human Resources of Narwal.
According to Sahoo, it is important to note that this is not the case for all managers in India, and it largely depends on the industry and company culture. Ultimately, it's up to each individual manager to determine how to balance their work and personal responsibilities.
Efficient and effective leaders
According to HR leaders, effective and efficient leaders are supposed to possess the ability to guide, motivate, prioritise long and short-term goals, keep a regular connection with the team to align them and inspire others to work towards a common goal or objective in a way that maximises resources, time, and productivity.
According to Sahoo an effective and efficient leader must possess following qualities:
- Visionary: They have a clear vision and can communicate it to their team to inspire them.
- Strategic thinker: They are strategic in their approach to problem-solving and decision-making and can anticipate and address challenges before they become major obstacles.
- Empathetic: They show empathy and understand the needs and concerns of their team members, building a strong and loyal team.
- Accountable: They take responsibility for their actions and decisions and hold themselves and their team accountable for their performance.
- Flexible: They can adapt to changing circumstances and pivot strategies when necessary.
- A mentor: They mentor and develop their team members to build a strong, skilled, and loyal team.
- Emotionally intelligent: They are aware of their emotions and those of their team members and can manage them in a way that fosters a positive and productive work environment.
- A strong communicator: They communicate effectively with their team members, stakeholders, and customers.
- A team builder: They can build and maintain a strong and cohesive team that achieves great things together.
- A continuous learner: They are always learning and growing, open to feedback and willing to make changes to improve their leadership skills.
- Creative: They think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to challenges, giving their team a competitive edge.
Personal practices for an efficient leader
For Neetu Singh, Chief Human Resources Officer, Naviga, setting accountability, active listening, and encouraging the team to take risks and try new ways of doing things helped her groom as an efficient leader. Last but not least, offering flexibility to manage work/ deliverables also helped Neetu groom herself as an efficient leader.
For Sahoo, time management, prioritising tasks, taking short breaks, minimising distractions, continuous learning and knowledge sharing, and connecting with people were vital in shaping him as an efficient leader.
Challenges for leaders in 2023
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in the workplace, with virtual work becoming more common and employees seeking greater flexibility and work-life balance. Leaders in 2023 will need to adapt quickly to these changes and find innovative solutions to keep their teams and organizations moving forward.
“Being resilient! Due to lots of uncertainty and changing market scenarios, it is vital to building operational excellence and optimisation. Therefore, encourage your team to learn new competencies for being ready to pick new roles and assignments,” says Neetu.
While Sahoo believes that challenges that leaders face are leading the changing workplace, engaging and retaining organisational members, and maintaining employee well-being, addressing climate change and sustainability concerns are some of the biggest challenges for HR leaders in 2023.
Do managers keep themselves disconnected from their jobs at home
Based on his experience, Neetu says that as an HR professional, this is a conscious effort made by any global or Indian organisation to keep communicating ‘ cultural norms and expectations’. “If leaders are exhibiting this, managers will keep reflecting the same in their behaviour.”