The world has changed since the 2020 pandemic started. People now need more support and expect more from their leaders. Old models are working, but in “the new reality,” we work remotely or hybrid and do not interact so much directly face to face. In the old days, people interacted with their leaders every day regularly. Now we tend to be more independent and rely on ourselves.
No matter that change, people (at least many of them) work for organizations where leaders define goals and shape the scope of responsibility employees will have while achieving those goals. The new reality has changed the setup of how we work but, at the same time, has put more stress on things that can now make or break a deal between employee and employer, leader and follower, mentor, and mentee, etc.
The will to help now depends increasingly on how the leader appears in the eyes of their followers, but not on how it acts on an everyday basis. The controlling style used so often while in the office in different forms has transformed into a kind that counts more on accountability and is built on inspiration. People now tend to move forward, driven more by the identity the leader has built than the identity the company can offer them. Leaders have become an integral element of the relationship between employees and the organization. That role creates more stress, but at the same time, played well, that role can shape the relationship and help the organization succeed.
Being separated from the everyday loop, employees now need to focus on something or someone connecting them to decide if their internal understanding and values compare to the one of the organizations.
Live contacts have been replaced by online meetings, where people see presence but cannot feel emotions, connect them to their internal understandings, and build on them in a way that helps not only them but also the organization.
Playing an essential role in connecting people to organizations, leaders have gotten into the eye of a storm that makes them, at the same time, e the most important person in the employee’s life and the most delicate instrument in the arsenal of the organization.
Playing a significant role in executing the organization’s vision, a leader’s presence has become crucial for success and failure.
Nowadays, people seek elements that can help them build a first connection with the leader and then with the organization. Here are three characteristics that make or break the relationship with employees and followers.
Often discussed and still understood with so many nuances. Many leaders see authenticity as acting in different situations by “adapting” their behavior according to the problem and the audience. Korn Ferry institute used to call this “Political Savvy.” But what often, what the leader misses is that people want to see sustainable behavior, sending similar signals in different situations. No matter what happens, lofty standards and identical thinking styles are crucial for building authenticity. Being authentic for people means showing stable behavior with no or minor deviances that generate comparable results for different people. Being the unique self is critical for building an authentic presence and using it to sustain people’s attention, support, and accountability.
What we need to see in leaders’ actions is also logic. According to an Inc.com published article from 2019, sixty-eight percent of people are ready to support leaders’ actions if they can spot their reason. How the leader thinks, how decisions are taken, and what actions mean in the leader’s head are essential for people in the team and the organization. Logical and consistent actions can predefine the level of engagement and accountability across the group. What can make or break the relationship and results are not the resources but the way the leader’s logic creates solutions. Consistency is at the heart of every decision in our life but is crucial for the leader’s role. Seen as illogical actions can make people resistant to help and change the current environment. At the same time, the apparent logic, explained simply c, boosts results, productivity, efficiency, and accountability in the team enormously.
Times when leaders were accepted as controlling and distant are long over. In a world full of emotions, people need to be seen as they are, understood in their way, and accepted as individuality. There are no more rules for cold business etiquette and no more restrictions to show yourself in the closest to reality image. In this new reality, a leader’s role is to find a way to understand everyone, be with them when they are happy, support them when they are down, and help them when they struggle. The third characteristic people want to see in the leader is genuine and authentic empathy toward their emotional self. This characteristic connects leaders and the people around them more profoundly and meaningfully. Showing someone that you understand their emotions is a powerful way to win them for your cause. The leader can achieve higher results with authentic behavior toward others and adapting to their needs and conditions.
In short, said, what we need in today’s fast-paced world is to see leaders without masks, understand their way of thinking and acting with the steps included, and at the same time see them as people instead of controllers and pushers. By creating that image, the leader will be able to attract and retain people who can contribute successfully overall to achieve the organizational mission in the world.