The past few months have been a real test of leadership.
Many leaders and managers have been caught off guard having to quickly navigate unfamiliar situations, make decisions in ambiguity, and look beyond business objectives to steward people’s lives as well.
What a successful "leader in change" looks like is being redefined.
To lead today and tomorrow people managers need to level up
The way we led in the past will not cut it.
Change is only becoming more rapid. The ability to lead in a VUCA environment is now a must-have for any people manager.
Leaders need to be able to lead through ambiguity, uncertainty, and crises
The pandemic has already changed business and the way we live our lives. The ripple effects of these changes are still unknown. Furthermore, environmental, political and technological factors will continue to disrupt our world for better or for worse.
The need to be able to manage change well is therefore a fundamental necessity.
Leaders need to be able to lead in the evolved work environment
The workforce, workplace, and way of working have changed and are rapidly changing the way people managers need to engage, motivate, and collaborate. Much of the workforce is now dispersed and many of them are under stress and anxiety due to the changes and uncertainties.
Many people managers have yet to acclimatise to the new ways of working. "Our research conducted during COVID-19 shows that a large number of managers are struggling with the effective management of people working from home, with this translating into many workers feeling untrusted and micromanaged by their bosses," Harvard Business Review says in Remote Managers Are Having Trust Issues.
What people managers need is to lead themselves and others courageously
1. Courage to care and connect deeply
Leading a workforce in an uncertain environment requires authentic and vulnerable leaders who lead with empathy. Leaders who have the courage to be vulnerable are better able to foster an emotionally safe environment, which helps to alleviate anxiety and allows people to problem-solve, learn, and innovate. It cultivates trust, improving engagement and performance.
"When managers describe their challenges, whether mental-health-related or not, it makes them appear human, relatable, and brave." Harvard Business Review says in 8 Ways Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health. "Research has shown that authentic leadership can cultivate trust and improve employee engagement and performance."
2. Courage to face realities and explore unknowns
One difficult reality to face is the fact that the circumstances are changing all the time.
"But demanding of their immediate attention as such matters are, business leaders must also not lose sight of the need to equip themselves to deal better with future shocks," Forbes says in an article titled, Leaders Need To Look Into The Future For Skills To Beat Crisis.
Leaders need to build personal resilience to navigate rapid change, and devise and adopt new or unknown strategies.
Enabling Managers to Successfully Drive Change
In response to this, we developed a new programme to equip people managers to thrive today and tomorrow.
We are launching a new programme: Leading in Change with Courage, Care and Clarity to equip leaders with essential skills to be effective in these unprecedented times:
- Building personal and team resilience
- Finding clarity and sense-making
- Connecting and engaging with virtual teams
The programme is conducted fully remotely in real time, for a highly engaging and impactful experience.