The ecosystem of the organisation has undergone a significant change. COVID-19 has brought in unconventional ways of working. Working from anywhere, home, and hybrid has taught the employees and organisations to have a paradigm shift in understanding and adapting to this change. As per Randstad Future of work in India Report 2021, leaders of a hybrid working model system will require different skills and capabilities.
This changing ecosystem expects them to build their enterprise leadership ability, take critical decisions, work with data, think digital, and demonstrate flexibility.
The hybrid work culture has created a virtual space for everyone to communicate and connect. Research suggests that digitization has led the leader to be an altrocentric leader. Altrocentric leader is one who is well aware of the fact that they cannot be successful alone. The essential skills are collaboration, teamwork, building and strengthening high-performing teams and stakeholder management. These leaders lead organisations with a solid sense of purpose, believe in delegating authority and act with high maturity, integrity and empathy.
Organisations across the globe are looking at some leadership traits in their leaders to lead a new way of working.
While going through the literature review, below are a few critical traits identified in leaders of today to lead the hybrid model of working-
Lead with authenticity
Today's new way of working has compelled leaders to experiment, succeed and fail. Leaders, while soaring high on success, also have to accept failures. Employees these days relate to an honest leader who means and acts on what they say. A leader embraces vulnerability and takes ownership of decisions instead of attributing them to external factors. The tough times have been learning for everyone, and leaders have been no different. Authentic leaders have been appreciated and acknowledged for their humility. Vision, mission and values have been very significant for them in these times, making them reflect on the purpose of their existence. Consequently, authentic leaders build a culture of trust and accountability within the organisation.
While the hybrid way of working has enabled us to cover distances through digital tools, communication, connection, and engagement remain imperative. Therefore, leaders can leverage technology to connect with employees working from anywhere in the world; however, compassion and empathy are of utmost importance. The need for an employee to be heard and understood is high. In this scenario, leaders can strengthen the sense of belongingness of employees towards the organisation through communication and connections. Leaders need to understand the diversity within the organisation, create an inclusive workplace, and acknowledge the effort and stress of employees. They genuinely need to demonstrate the value of caring.
Leaders who aspire to succeed in this new world must be proactive and adaptive to constant change. They need to have an outside-in view (market intelligence) to gain the first advantage or adapt to the changes quickly. Agility is confined not only to market dynamics but also to self and people. Skilling and upskilling oneself constantly and instead of only being digitally equipped also to think digitally is of critical importance. Thinking digital is also about solutions and serving customers. Agility also consists of knowing employees' engagement, happiness quotient and mood and quickly acting on their responses to keep them engaged and retained in the organisation.
organisations have building and searching for enterprise talent in leaders. Enterprise leaders who not only think function but think organisation. They can connect the dots and look at the bigger purpose of business outcomes. They can also drive people by aligning the organisational objectives to functional goals and provide clarity on why of achieving business numbers. Enterprise leaders also take decisions by balancing their long-term and short-term view. Hence, they are bi-focal. They are not only good at the here and now but also thinking long term. They are sharp strategic thinkers and strong executors. Leaders should also be able to leverage data while taking decisions to arrive at objective conclusions.
"What got you here won't get you there". These lines by Marshall Goldsmith stand true in this post COVID times where the world seems to be different. While work dynamics have changed, there has been a need to try new things continuously. Leaders need to innovate and bring in the fresh air of ideas to promote a culture of innovation. At the same time, a leader should also be cognizant that the new way of working needs speed and simplicity in design, system, processes and decision making to create better employee and customer value proposition.
The most critical leadership trait is Resilience. COVID-19, the Great Resignation, has been testing times for leadership. From personal to moving digital and now phygital and digital has been a journey requiring patience and a strong passion for not giving up. The number of ideas, solutions, success and failures, ups and downs of businesses, one quarter up and the other down, has been a tough time for a leader and one thing that has kept a leader going is Resilience. A resilient leader can create a strong culture of trust among the employees and their leadership in the long term.
Hybrid ways of working are here to stay, and LEADERS are ready to lead.