Leadership is hard, but right now it’s even harder as leaders continue to navigate their way in a pandemic world. I suspect most of you reading this article, didn’t think that in March 2020 when we went into our 1st lockdown, we would still be in that same position, one year on…
So, to help all of you in a leadership position, I wanted to give you some light at the end of a very exhausted Covid tunnel and tell you about 6 aspects of leadership that I believe will be required of leaders in a post pandemic world.
1. Situational Sensing
Being able to situational sense is something a leader needs to do when in the room or presence of the other person. Situational sensing is picking up on the soft data. The soft data is the stuff that’s going on in the room that you are sensing. It’s about what’s not being said and the emotional clues that you are picking up from that other person.
There used to be a management fad called management by walking about. It was a good fad as it enabled the leader to collect what I would call ‘soft data’. It’s the soft stuff that is the hard stuff. The main element of situational sensing is collecting data using your cognitive and observational skills. It works best in an informal setting / context, where the leader can collect the data in an informal and unplanned way.
2. Leader as a Coach
Gone are the days of command-and-control leadership – that type of leadership isn’t just dead, it’s a professional turnoff. Millennials (our cultural and professional barometers want leaders who inspire change, based on the collective good.
Modern leadership is undergoing a shift – it’s about empathy, sharing ideas, facilitating conversations, asking questions and being okay with not having all the answers.
Leaders today are using their skills best by inspiring others, driving change, as well as communicating when things stay the same. Leadership is about being honest and bringing your best self to the table, so that those around you can do the same.
3. Team Dynamics (Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing)
Based on the model by Bruce Tuckman – Tuckman’s team development model has stood the test of time over the past 50 years and will be a great guide for all leaders when they get their teams back in the workplace.
The forming stage will be when you get everyone back in the room for your first ‘in person’ team meeting. I suggest no agenda and allow everyone to reform their relationships and have a chat over a coffee.
The second stage, Storming, takes place in any good team as we work through and transition back into the workplace. Expect conflict and allow this to happen. Leaders who inhibit or stifle conflict are only making problems for themselves further down the line.
Once the storming has taken place, your team will transition is Norming and Performing. This is where the magic happens, they have transitioned into new working practices and our delivering results.
Welcoming people back into the workplace will be a delicate task, as leaders will need to ensure that employees feel safe, secure and supported when returning to the workplace.
From the conversations, I have had with many of my clients, flexibility will be required from everyone as we enter and transition into a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. I would encourage all leaders and executives to take time to understand your employees needs and re-contract with them around working hours and days when you will expect them to perhaps be in the office.
Empower and engage your employees in the decision-making. Take work/life balance seriously and allow for flexibility.
5. Compelling Purpose
It’s important for your employees to understand the compelling purpose. Why do we do what we do, and what difference does it make? How do you inspire others to your causes? By action and language.
On the action front, remember to lead by example. Show others that you are motivated to make positive changes by getting involved yourself. Language is a fine art, but one that has the power to inspire by constructed visions and smart communication. If you are unsure as to what your
6. Employee-centric workplace
The future of organisations is around making them employee-centric. This means giving employees freedom with accountability, with a strong focus on wellbeing. Look at what, in your workplace environment, can be adjusted to reduce stress. You might consider flexible working hours, regular check-ins, negotiated downtime – and consider how to best use a variety of communication channels to engage with staff.
Focus on both your own wellbeing as the leader, but also your employees. Employee engagement and wellbeing are key to organisational and employee success both now and in a post pandemic world.
Leadership is changing and evolving to reflect both the world in which we are leading and the changing needs of our employees and our customers. My advice would be to inhibit your leadership space, enjoy your ability to influence others and don’t feel the need to change to show your authority. Lead with empathy and compassion and you can never go wrong, especially in a post pandemic world.