Updated: 2 days ago
Times are changing and with that, so is what it means to be a good leader. Over the last 12 months, we have sadly lost many businesses due to the pandemic. Yet despite the trauma of the Covid-19 outbreak, many companies have adapted and thrived due to strong leadership.
So what have we learned about leaders in 2020?
We are moving into a new era of business. E-commerce is surging, previously non-digital brands are now online. A growing number of people work remotely, connecting in virtual meetings. This has challenged leaders to demonstrate agility and confidence in fast-paced decision making.
But when it comes to looking after our people, leadership skills have taken a more human approach.
In line with the growth of flexible working, more and more of us are strengthening our boundaries for a slower way of living. And leadership styles need to match. Numerical and goal-driven tactics will no longer stand up to the emphasis on work/life balance. Instead, a new wave of personable qualities is required to attract and maintain stellar talent.
As the new normal becomes the future, it’s more prominent than ever to keep our employees excited about their direction, the company, and their work.
To succeed in 2021 and beyond, you must demonstrate the below characteristics of leadership:
Good leaders care about each and every one of their colleagues, no matter their seniority or length of service. They listen to their workforce’s needs and provide the tools required to help them succeed.
From adequate technology to resources and opportunities for growth, a great leader ensures their staff is looked after.
Leaders need a breadth of skills to be successful, from communication to management and finance. But there is always room for improvement. By investing in themselves, leaders can set a good example for self-learning within their workforce.
Genuinely appreciating employees’ work is one of the key qualities of a leader. Nobody wants to work for a company where they aren’t valued. Whilst a pay rise and bonus are common preferences, showing appreciation doesn’t have to be monetary.
Valuing employees can be demonstrated in a number of ways. Staff parties are a fantastic reward but even small gestures such as recognition programs, company shout-outs, or even a thank you email go a long way.
Leading by example is a core mantra in the workplace. If you want your team to abide by company policies and share your business values, then you must start by demonstrating them yourself.
Self-discipline is one of the top effective qualities of a leader, inspiring a culture of excellent time management, dedication, and productivity.
Don’t just say you have an open-door policy - actively walk the talk!
Having an open office is all well and good, but most employees are too intimidated to actually drop in. Instead, employ an approachable style of leadership by actively checking in with teams and not just in meetings.
Try scheduling informal catch-ups or introduce fireside chats where any member of the office can come to you with suggestions or concerns.
Great leaders not only hone their craft - they also share it with their colleagues. Mentoring future leaders demonstrate you care about your employees and the future of the company.
Key learnings can be shared in company communications or conferences as well as passed down to team leaders.
When a business is faced with a difficult challenge, colleagues must come together to innovate and source a solution.
A leader should be creative and able to problem solve in most situations. But having an open door to ideas is essential for business growth - particularly as industries adapt to the new normal.
By welcoming ideas from the bottom up, leaders can benefit from first-hand suggestions that directly impact the way their employees work.
Transparency earns trust in business. By employing open communication, leaders will receive more support from their team and clear up any confusion that could lead to a lack of motivation.
Hiding information and being a closed book are common bad qualities of a leader that often result in poor employee engagement. Instead, share the company’s goal progression and any important updates as soon as possible to avoid speculation.
Delegating can be a difficult task but is a skill that is an essential leadership quality. Good leaders can’t do everything and therefore must empower their teams to take responsibility.
This not only advantages your future leaders’ growth but also nurtures trust and a sense of value among your organization.
Each member of your team will have different areas of the job that inspire them and it's a leaders’ job to help them harness this and reach their potential.
Learning and self-development is a beneficial way to ensure employees have dedicated time to explore their passions. This could be through online courses and training modules or simply welcoming inspirational speakers for lunch and learn sessions.
The most important thing is to show investment in your teams as people and not just as workers.
By working on the above list, leaders will inspire their teams and harness a creative, productive culture to succeed in 2021.
If you need help in this area or are struggling to scale your business & team - check out how we can help here.