Blog: ​Leadership trends to adapt in 2021


​Leadership trends to adapt in 2021

Who are we? How do people identify us? How do we express ourselves to the world? What drives us? When do we choose to engage and why? The pandemic, especially the second wave, upended answers to all these questions with organisations striving to find solutions.
​Leadership trends to adapt in 2021

From a leader's perspective, and mainly as the Talent Head at Omnicom, what is the importance of recognizing the change in the responsibility of leaders and managers? The rising need to prioritize and give equal importance to all responsibilities. The latest leadership trends to adapt to. 

Who are we? How do people identify us? How do we express ourselves to the world? What drives us? When do we choose to engage and why? The pandemic, especially the second wave, upended answers to all these questions with organisations striving to find solutions. As we get a grasp on new trends in the human resources space that might change how we function forever, here is how I think the landscape is evolving.   

Repurposing goals and objectives

‘When nothing is certain, anything is possible’. We have all been impacted by the consequences of the pandemic, one way or another. In the aftermath of both its waves, companies are trying to readjust their long-term game plans in alignment with reset people-first expectations. The criticality of safeguarding employees and preventing losses has tasked human resources, across the globe, to innovate exponentially. And fast. Past regimens for planning, organizing, coordinating, cooperating, reporting and budgeting no longer fit the bill, in most cases. This has presented a unique challenge to reconfigure business offerings, proactively and resiliently. With digital dynamism carved in business identities and awareness of consumers compelling brands to deliver on purpose, leadership needs to usher in the new normal with a distilled culture of empathy and equity as frontrunners in long term goals. 

Recatalysing systems and processes

We have evolved in how we identify what really matters to our stakeholders in terms of priorities. With work from home, we have tried to supplement ‘key’ performance metrics with larger objectives for our employees. People are juggling roles and chores and it is imperative to distinguish goals from everyday tasks to enable teams to focus on value-addition to business outcomes. We want to bring sustainable changes in our processes and systems by recatalysing how an employee goes through their lifecycle with us, from hiring to appraisals. There are areas of business that need recalibration given the rapid digitalization and we are ensuring that we tune our metrics to that. Our main priority is to be adaptive to the needs of our teams and people to aid them navigate their outputs at a pace that works for them, in sync with larger business goals. Constant communication with everyone to encourage understanding of ‘why’ certain processes are needed and why some are being abandoned, is the catalyst that is keeping our relationships perched. 

Reskilling talent pool & leadership

In the past, perhaps during a crisis, governance is an area that may have got pushed aside. It is financially viable to integrate a talent pool that is not just adept at a specific function but also a responsible corporate citizen. This counters the risks posed to intellectual properties of an organization with things going digital and accountability becoming decentralized. Along with this, one needs to be cautious of how telecommunicating has blurred professional and personal boundaries for employees. Despite its perks, a digital workplace needs adoption and knowledge of the intricacies of changes which requires serious reskilling across levels - be it digital readiness for virtual meetings, online presentations, town halls or expanding micro-credentials with online training. 

Recreating teams & relationships 

As we settle into remote working, recreating teams and relationships with more diversity and inclusiveness is an unconditional commitment that leadership should take charge of. AI tools must be fed clean and micro data for hiring decisions. Technology should be integrated into daily operations to help employers and managers identify gaps within and across various teams to bridge disparities. This will organically contribute towards designing a diverse workforce by mitigating any form of prejudice and help build agender teams. Defining policies by accounting for the virtual context is mandatory now to prevent teams from facing distress and to ensure holistic employee well-being. 

Realigning people & outcomes

A company expresses it’s personality through its culture. With most processes going remote, it has become doubly significant to channel our disposition through engagement for teams. Face-to-face communication has become virtual and distant dialogues are causing fatigue - mental, physical and emotional. Though organizations are trying to provide as much support as possible, with vaccination drives, counseling, work-from-home set ups, salary advancement and the like, it is also equally necessary to stay relevant and acknowledge that one size will not fit all in this scenario and dialogues will have to be customized, be one-on-one if feasible. Leadership will have to not just be visible but effectively attend to the call of realigning vigor and vehemence through action-led involvement, mentorship and build rapport on a case to case basis.  

A lot of questions remain unanswered as of now about what trends are we going to spot in the coming future. In the meantime, our economy cannot pause. Leaders across industries should collaborate, with empathy and experience-sharing, for a faster recovery instead of hinging on rebooting in silos. I can, undoubtedly, say that companies that embrace the new normal with an agile mindset in tandem with the right strategy and culture, will stand in good stead to thrive.

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Topics: Leadership, #GuestArticle, #ContinuousReinvention

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