The year 2020 taught us that the future could be as close as next week or in two hours. The future is now, and employees are still feeling a bit of gridlock and uncertainty as COVID continues to dictate every corner of life.
Leaders, you can be the calm in the storm when chaos strikes such as the pandemic or other business turmoil. Leaders must think differently and keep one foot in the present and one foot in the future. How can you best lead employees or teams for the future?
1. Be authentic – Old school leadership was all about being “in control” – now it’s about being honest, vulnerable and real with your employees. If you don’t know the answer, tell your employees what you know at the moment – could it change – absolutely. Let them know what you know. It’s also important to keep employees appropriately apprised of any changes to the business climate.
2. Be aware – observe and listen, connect with your employees and meet them where they are. Your younger employees may be concerned that they are behind the curve because their runway to a salary increase has been cut a bit with the pandemic. Your employees with families have other concerns like their kids aren’t going back to school in a lot of cases. Sometimes there are two spouses working from home. Stress is stress, be sure to check in frequently and see how your employees are doing.
3. Be adaptable – You have to be able to adjust to new or changing conditions as they arise. Flexibility is key for the workplace of the future.
4. Get back to basics – Focus on what you, your company and team do well.
5. Set clear boundaries – Make sure employees know what acceptable behavior is and what is off limits, such as politics and bullying.
6. Finally, be bold as you move forward. Show your employees, you know what risks you are willing to take. Be willing to take a stand and create a culture of decency and respect in your workplace.
Organizations and life will never go back to ‘the way it was.’ In the future, the things that will always stay constant and never go out for of style for organizations are – continuing to focus on the basics and leading employees with compassion, empathy and consistent feedback.
We help organizations with employee challenges every day. We’ve been doing this type of work for twenty-five plus years – we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two. Give us a shout, we’d love to help your business.