The year 2020 has been a year filled with many experiences and new challenges for businesses. The pandemic affected every business and caused a dip in operational activity. As firms had little to do to address the challenges in the way of preparation, they had to rely on the top-notch leadership skills of their managers if they were going to survive.
Amid all the chaos and disruption that ensued came opportunities to make long-awaited changes. As firms frantically searched for means to survive, innovative and effective means of doing things emerged. This was in no small part due to the leadership qualities that were on display.
Now, these changes brought about in the workplace environment have come to stay. As such, new leadership trends have begun to emerge, and leaders need to stay abreast of these trends to update their leadership styles if they’re to maintain a high level of productivity.
Here are some of the top leadership trends to look-out for in 2021 and beyond.
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Creating a positive culture in remote teams
Since the pandemic deterred people from gathering within proximity, remote working emerged as the only means by which businesses could survive. Despite the resistance of many companies against remote working policies, there was little they could do to resist the change. As a result, the number of employees working remotely globally increased. According to a US technology research firm, this increase will double in 2021. For leaders, this means they will have to manage more remote workers than ever before, and this will cause new trends in leadership and management. One of the characteristics of a good leader is to ensure effective communication. But now that most workers telecommute, leaders must devise means to ensure the transfer of clear information to remote employees. Achieving this will require a great deal of emotional intelligence as leaders will have to look for cues that tell if a remote worker is fully on-task or not. A modern-day leader must also look-out for cyberbullying and other nefarious activities that can impede employee effectiveness.
Adopting a change mindset
Managers will need to develop leadership styles that are flexible in thought, open to change, and welcoming of new ideas. As evidenced by the experiences of 2020, many businesses could not have survived the early days of the pandemic if not for the adoption of changes to their operating process. A quick look at the list of Fortune 500 companies in 2019 shows that half of them were created during economic recessions. More precisely, the 2008 global financial crisis birthed business unicorns such as Airbnb, Slack, and Uber. The flexibility of the leadership development trends adopted by these businesses ensure they could take advantage of the opportunities that were rife during that period of economic downturns. The leadership trends in management will demand that leaders can identify changes, understand them, and find ways to fit them into the workings of the organization.
The goal of leadership is to ensure a high level of productivity and employee development. But how do leaders achieve this? Before now, the prevalent indicator of success used to be economic outcomes. But wellbeing leadership is a new approach that challenges this conventional view. Wellbeing and economy are two sides of a coin and one cannot be achieved without the other. As such, wellbeing leadership, an emerging leadership trend, aims to maximize outcomes across eight components: economic, material, physical, psychological, social, cultural, environmental, and spiritual. To ensure this approach works, leaders must find the right balance among all eight components. By concentrating on these various aspects, wellbeing leadership can guarantee increased productivity among employees. As seen already during the pandemic, productivity is closely tied to employee wellbeing.
- 5 leadership trends that will be more important than ever in 2021 | University of Queensland Business School
- The number of permanent remote workers is set to double by 2021 | Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss | October 23, 2020
- Leadership trends for 2021 and beyond | Maureen Metcalf | October 6, 2020
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