By Tom Preston
Every time I open my closet I am reminded of how much has changed over the past few years. I see my suits and ties forlorn and forgotten, likely only to see the light of day when two people want to celebrate their love for each other in an unusually formal way. While the need for suits may have shrunk, what we are seeing in most of the leaders that we coach is that almost all aspects of leadership have expanded over the past three years.
When people came to an office five days a week, it was enough for leaders to make sure that people understood the definition of collective success, demonstrated the behaviours needed to achieve that, had enough context to inform their work, knew what was important about what they needed to do and knew how they would be measured. Much of the rest of a leader’s job then happened by osmosis around the proverbial water cooler and by repeating the chorus. And while setting those imperatives out remain important, there is a whole lot more that leaders need to do now that the world has inextricably changed. Leadership just got a whole lot more complex and so the skills that leaders need today are greatly expanded.
The new challenges come in many forms. Talent demands more; more engagement, more meaning and purpose, more development, coaching and nurturing, more freedom to act while having a sense of belonging and more care around health, wellbeing and the environment. In short, they demand better leadership. Yet all of these need to be met while people work remotely at least some of the time.
So how do leaders address these new challenges? First and foremost creating the time to lead consciously is critical. And here’s some further food for thought from what we have seen many of the most successful leaders we coach embrace from an expanded leadership skill set:
E – engage
Communicate constantly, consistently and far more than you think you
X – x factor
Talent is at a premium, make the time and effort to develop, coach
and retain it.
P – proximity
Know your people really well and accept the responsibility of pastoral
care for their well being, mental health and physical health.
A – authenticity
Be you on your best day, every day if you can and be honest if you cannot.
N – numbers
Data matters more than ever. Track it and share it transparently
with your people.
D – diversity
Diversity, equality and inclusion are only achieved when championed,
proactively, by leaders.
E – evolve
Try new ways to lead to constantly grow your skills.
D – deliver
Some things never change.
So look beyond what is in your closet already and expand your leadership horizons with thought and determination. Change is good – own yours.