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Leaders of the future are paying attention

We have experienced an extremely difficult past few years and it is evident that the hard road is not over. We are never going back to “normal” and need to embrace the “new normal”. The weight of unemployment, inequality, climate change, health systems under constant pressure, increased rates of depression and loneliness, supply chains unable to meet the constant demand, labour shortages and unfair wages in this sector to the growth of the IT sector, artificial intelligence, new ways of working & smarter ways of getting the best out of our people are a lot to take in. It is all quite daunting yet also quite exciting as we realise we can implement change and better ourselves and our teams!

If you want to be a leader at the forefront of change, the time is now to embrace a new way of leading. Here are some tips on how to grasp the latest leadership trends this year.

1. Invest in people development

In the executive search industry we have seen an increased need for talent assessment and coaching as a form of investment in personnel. It has been an interesting and exciting road as we have tried to manage both recruiting assignments and talent assessment projects in order to offer the complete package to clients. Leaders can start by considering investing in coaching and mentoring activities via an outside consultancy who bring a wealth of experience and know-how. Peer-to-peer coaching and mentoring are also highly effective, if you provide structure and set expectations.

To stay in the loop of the latest AI and IT changes new age leaders are mapping out a learning and development program focused on learning new technologies and software, advancing job-specific knowledge and skills and teaching effective management and leadership techniques. Let’s not forget about the power of training on EI (emotional intelligence) such as empathy, listening, problem-solving and communication. Effective upskilling programs include job rotation — the practice of moving employees between jobs and job enlargement — adding new tasks and responsibilities to an employee’s job.

2. Embrace a culture of well-being

It is a leaders duty to create cultures where employee well-being comes first. Employee wellness is no longer a value-add to consider but an essential element that every director and manager must be committed to achieve. Change starts at the top.

The main priorities are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. People are craving more balance, quality family time and wellness in life, and candidates who don’t perceive this during the interview phase will simply choose not to join a company whilst current employees will simply jump ship and change companies.

Keeping the lines of communication consistent and open is key. Improving and sustaining well-being is a process. Leaders should regularly check in with their employees to see how things are going and have meaningful conversations about well-being every month.

3. Build your technology infrastructure

Technology is the future and leaders who fail to embrace this statement will be left behind. There is no time like the present to invest in your technology infrastructure. Sit down with your leadership team and scenario plan. What technology do we know we need now? What might we need in the future? How do we build an agile system that can change as we change? Be sure to outline priorities, investments and talent requirements. Ensure all who are involved in the recruiting process are aware of these priorities.

4.Address inequality

Leaders have the responsibility to ensure that the workplace is as fair and equitable as possible. Celebrate differences between employees, address pay inequalities, create safe spaces for people to access support and give them a platform to share their stories. Review hiring practices to better source, looking beyond the usual networks in order to tap into more diverse candidate pools. Conduct panel interviews to allow for various perspectives. Use a structured interview process, including a scorecard, so every candidate is asked the same questions in the same order and ranked on ability and competency rather the usual biased interview process based on personal preferences.

5. Generate an experimenter’s mindset

There is no doubt that more disruption lies ahead; it’s the new norm. As we experienced in March 2020 things can change overnight. To be future-ready, you must be willing to try new things, to experiment. Teach people how to embrace the learner’s mind and not fear failure. Possessing a learner’s mind does not mean taking significant risks; one always needs to outline the pros, cons and potential outcomes. By employing people who possess an experimenter’s mindset you will soon change your company’s culture and be a step ahead as we move forward in this fast paced, ever changing, crazy world.

Leaders of the future are paying attention! The question is, are you one of them?

If you enjoyed reading this visit the other posts on my insights page in both English and Italian.

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