Businesses are slowly recovering from the most challenging days of the pandemic. Given the unprecedented circumstances, leaders are now reanalyzing their fundamental purpose and the best ways to encourage their teams in the next chapter. That encouragement now goes far beyond business success; indeed, the pandemic has shifted focus to employee wellness and mental health, among other things. With leaders juggling such issues, what can they do to lead their teams to success in the coming year?
Hear and adjust
A recent Leadership Monitor 2.0 survey by Heidrick & Struggles of leaders in Asia revealed that 82% of Indian leaders experienced a lot or a great deal of change in leadership style and company culture in the past fifteen months. More and more often, we are seeing leadership strategies start with empathy and an intrinsic desire to hear and appreciate diverse viewpoints. Equally significant, leaders must be sincere in their readiness to respond based on what they hear, however hard that may be. The optimal guide for leaders should include a logical and sound strategy, tailor-made to accommodate the evolving needs of the market. However, to lead teams favorably leaders should exhibit both empathy and a sound strategy. Leaders should drive towards creating innovative approaches to optimize how tasks are completed with the importance of the physical and virtual offices and how talent is cultivated and compensated.
Hearing diverse views at the table
A combination of equal opportunities campaigns and more complete reporting has advanced the feeling of urgency with which many businesses are developing diversity and inclusion (D&I) plans. Workers, consumers, investors, and the public are demanding businesses act. To be successful in this area, leaders will have to treat diversity not as a subject of compliance but as a competitive advantage that produces better thinking and, through that exercise, more solid results.
Five essential principles to be also kept in mind for leaders to create such an inclusive culture are listed herein.
First is purposeful leadership, which involves linking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&l) efforts to decisive business priorities and outcomes and then realistically role modeling a compelling desire for change. The second is personal change, the call to foster a mindset shift and modify individual behavior.
The third is representation, which is elaborated above and related to developing greater diversity and empowering all employees to view themselves at any company position. The fourth is broad engagement, which means thoroughly engaging the organization and strengthening organisational momentum via a leader-led means. Finally, the fifth is systemic alignment, which involves refreshing institutional practices, processes, and procedures to eliminate bias or special treatment.
Develop agility as an organisational strength
The Leadership Monitor 2.0 survey also revealed 62% of APAC leaders felt that they had a great deal or a lot of organisational strength to thrive over the next year. Utilizing agility as their strength, leaders can start bringing about simple transformations in employee mindsets by communicating extensively about the precise business-critical need for agility. After that, they can build the business case for organisational coordination regarding the steps to be taken. Then, they should explain how agility relates to their specific structure and help attain their organisational goals. It also helps change mindsets when leaders represent developing agility themselves and diligently support others doing so.
In the post-pandemic world, leaders were especially concerned about capturing new markets while curbing burnout in employees. Agile organizations need determination at all levels to innovate and remain competitive, and leaders must create an empowered team for evolving industrial conditions. Such teams will be willing to question assumptions, move away from comfort zones, incorporate fresh working styles and accept failure.
Facilitate courageous leadership
The nominal meaning of courageous leadership has always been the power to approach challenges and disruption constructively. In the Indian context, another connotation for courageous leadership means welcoming the new while acknowledging all that's genuine about where their companies came from, supporting diverse points of judgment and inspiring a willingness to promote and develop change.
At the same time, leaders should also recognize that they're not supposed to deliver on all these obligations themselves or overnight. Thus, when leaders show agility and courage in reaching out to their teams, they are bound to lead organizations with a broader mindset, willingness to new ideas and openness to diverse perspectives.
Improve productivity in the workplace
Leaders will continue to be responsible for streamlining activities for their teams, in order to maintain a good workflow. Increasing productivity at the workplace will remain a priority for most leaders as the pandemic renders the market more competitive. Setting expectations, compartmentalizing employee time, and keeping communication channels transparent will go a long way in maintaining and improving efficiency in the post-pandemic workplace, be it online or offline.
With the world still navigating Covid-19, there are bound to be new and unexpected challenges. The best leaders will be able to assess all they've learned and endured during the pandemic and apply these lessons to better their organizations. By adapting, hearing diverse views and becoming more agile, leaders will be able to tackle any challenge head-on and create a much stronger, resilient organization for the long-term.