Before the pandemic, the world was struggling with the leadership crisis. Global Leadership Forecast 2018 showed that only 42% of leaders think their organization’s leadership is of high quality. According to Gallup’s meta-analysis on team engagement and performance, 85% of employees globally are either not engaged or are even actively disengaged at work.
The pandemic might be the impetus to reshape the way leaders perceive their role. These lessons won’t be forgotten. Here are three attributes of top talent leader of the future:
The lockdown forced leaders to be more flexible. With rapid changes all around them, leaders had to learn how to be more responsive and better adapt to the teams’ and stakeholders’ needs. Being a good agile leader means finding the balance between not being too restrictive with the boundaries and giving the team enough freedom. It’s essential to show confidence in the team and ensure psychological security. Agility also means that you are able to let go of what doesn’t work and try another approach.
For many CEOs, switching to this new working model wasn’t easy. But as UN Assistant Secretary-General Kanni Wignaraja said: “This is not the time to be reticent about change and what it may bring. Not everything will go back to what it was, and we won’t be doing all the same things that we were doing before”.
According to the Business Agility Institute, agility results in increased revenue, higher levels of business, faster turnaround times, and higher-quality offerings. Nevertheless, Business Agility Report from 2019 found that most organizations rated their current business agility maturity relatively low. There is a high chance that in 2020 those numbers will surge, and, even after the pandemic, the agile model will be the new leadership standard.
During the lockdown, most companies have developed strategies and procedures for sufficient remote work (you can read more in this post). The pandemic also forced CEOs to be more open to new markets and business solutions. It created a completely new mindset where both employees and customers may be acquired worldwide.
Leadership across cultures and countries will be a necessity in not-so-distant future. To possess top talents, recruiters might be more open to hiring remote workers. The leaders of tomorrow must be prepared to navigate between the needs of remote and office-based teams with different cultural backgrounds.
According to the annual study, The State of Workplace Empathy, “More than 90% of employees, HR professionals and CEOs said empathy was important every year since 2017”. While in the past it was easy to speak of the benefits of empathy, it has now become a necessity. You simply must be empathetic to cooperate with your team. Being able to actively listen and support team members has been a crucial ability to overcome challenges connected with the lockdown and social distancing.
As Gallup data shows 76% of employees experience burnout at least sometimes and, according to study done by Udemy, “72% of employees are worried that the ‘New Normal’ caused by COVID-19 and the resulting economic uncertainty will have a long-lasting negative effect on their quality of life and future prospects”. Even when the pandemic ends, emotional intelligence remains the most important quality of the leader, who has to assure the employees’ wellbeing.