Category Archives: Leadership
“It’s all about the bottom line.”
That’s what traditional, old-school, top-down hierarchy leaders have told their people for decades.
With the tectonic changes in the world and work landscape that occurred in 2020, 2021 seems to have placed permanent importance on two other factors that leaders need to focus their energies on.
A perusal of over a dozen leadership articles of what to expect in the coming year seems to overlap on these two major areas.
Those two areas are Employee Well-being and Leadership Trustworthiness.
Heading into 2020 leaders were starting to gain a broader awareness of employee health, particularly mental health and being aware of workplace bullying. During the initial onset of covid-19 and beyond, that awareness took a broader scope with work-life balance in a remote setting, having engaged staff that feel connected and supported from afar, and ensuring a flexible schedule to juggle concurrently the demands of home and work.
Employees whose well-being is not being addressed will look to leave their companies, and more directly, those leaders, for better options based on the lessons we learned and witnessed took importance from the prior year.
Additionally, the polarization of social and political issues and the engendered erosion of trust in leaders across many institutions have created a void in which leaders must work harder to prove themselves to their people. Employees will most likely have to be reassured repeatedly over time that one’s leadership and agendas are truly authentic and aligned with the greater good of the people as well as that of the organization.
Leaders who rule by fear and other hierarchical power-over methods will find those methods, their people – and possibly their very own jobs and careers – less secure.
As the future of business and leadership move forward into the future, the net bottom line will be forever changed. The numbers at the bottom aren’t just what will drive companies. It will be a three-way metric of profitable growth, employee well-being and leadership trustworthiness that will dictate the sustainability of any organization. And the measure of it’s leadership as well.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a year of unique challenges for leaders across the globe.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, planned strategies have had to be shelved for newer short-term goals. Meeting the newer needs of both employees and customers that have changed and adapted this year has been the new normal. And keeping up with employee needs such as work from home, work-life balance and employee well being (both mental and physical) have consumed many leaders for the bulk of this year.
As we start to set our sights on 2021, with the hopes of the pandemic waning as it runs its course and vaccines are being distributed, it would be very easy to kick our ambitions into the high gear we had hoped at the advent of 2020. In 2021, more than ever, it may be prudent to just keep it simple in our plans and goals.
The tendency to over compensate after a setback such as what this past year has posed is very much a reality. In making up for lost time and lost opportunity one can see how tempting it is to charge forward and try to do everything to reclaim what was lost over the last twelve months.
It makes sense for leaders to keep their goals and plans more simple, yet overarching, in order to maintain the ability to impact the areas of growth for you, your team and your organization while still being able to maintain a consistent pace while the year starts off continuing in the uncertain path we’re concluding this one on.
Creating these simple goals can come in the following methods:
- Make no more than 3 goals that you know will be the most satisfying to accomplish in 2021
- While specific, make these goals to have reach in as many areas of your life or work
- One such goal can be promoting culture, which will also impact hiring, execution and CX
- Define one actionable step that you can commit to daily and/or weekly to allow this goal to come to fruition
- Post these goals in front of you – desktop screen, whiteboard, sign, etc – to see them daily and be a compass to simplicity
- Remember these goals are to keep you successful while maintaining a healthy balance in your comp,any and your personal life as we attempt to lift ourselves out of the pandemic
A leaders nature tends to take advantage of circumstances where they can create the maximum impact, momentum and success in a given situation. And while this is true for coming out of 2020, we need to keep in mind that we as individuals and our people around us might not be ready to go full steam ahead.
2021 can be a successful year if done right, with simple and measured goals, progressing as a foundation for better things to come in the years after.
Keeping things simple isn’t being unrealistic, it’s being realistic about ourselves.
With the Covid-19 ravaged year of 2020 drawing to a close – and with no definitive end in sight to the pandemic – results will not be the only thing leaders need to care about in the new year.
While the coronavirus changed how work got accomplished, there were many other items that created insecurity among employees this year. Unrest in many metropolitan and even remote areas due to social injustice, a very tense and divided general election, and the growing disparity of inequality felt among employees has created needs that leaders need to be aware of.
A recent article from EverFi shows six trends that will be of utmost importance in the coming year:
- New responsibilities for HR and Compliance – address issues that were once considered outside of their purview, such as politics, mental wellness, parenting, availability of education systems and childcare, and social justice.
- Broader focus on employee wellbeing – this may include new programs and amplified benefits related to employee mental health, physical wellness, child care, elder care, PTO, or flexible work arrangements. Others will reimagine the design and use of work spaces and gatherings to maximize both employee connection and safety
- Sustained action to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion – focusing on: increasing diversity throughout their employee and leadership ranks, examining processes that may create barriers to equity (such as recruitment, development, and advancement programs), fostering inclusion and belonging, and preventing both subtle and egregious acts of harassment and discrimination
- Continuation of remote work – to enable team management and collaboration, facilitate compliance efforts, deliver workplace training, and drive culture and employee engagement, among a dispersed workforce.
- Increased compliance complexity – From new mandates related to COVID-19 safety, anti-harassment training, pay and promotion transparency, and data privacy, to new protections against hair discrimination and whistleblower retaliation
- Business pressure to elevate workplace practices – consider assessing your values, policies, and practices to ensure they are aligned in support of an inclusive, ethical, and sustainable workplace.
In every businesses’ focus to gain back lost business or even maintain business from the pandemic, employees are the ones feeling the brunt of the drive to survive. The new imperative for leaders is not to get results, or get employees to produce more, sell more or work more, but to understand the meta of what employees need from their leaders in order to do the work they wish to perform.
Employees have learned a great deal about what their leaders have provided for them during this year, and data has revealed mixed results. With employees realizing what their leaders and organizations were truly made of, the exodus of talent may quickly leave for companies and leaders who best adopt practices around these six needs when the job market starts to flex open again.
The leadership landscape won’t just be changed for the coming year. To the leaders who truly care about their teams and the social and emotional impact of their people, they will work diligently to adopt a more holistic style that makes people feel safe and balanced while continuing to create an engaged workplace in person and remotely.
What got you through 2020 will not make you successful going forward. Leaders that set self aside for the sake of their team will be the new normal.