Leadership and management principles have drastically changed, with many people from older generations going out of the workforce. What was seen as a sustainable leadership model back at the beginning of the century is now an opportunity-driven behavior focusing on me first and then on others. Social networks and new channels of communication have boosted leadership expression additionally. New leaders need help with retaining talent. As much as companies try, sixty-eight percent of them (according to an APA report from 2021) report that the fastest and easiest way to retain talents they see in monetary benefits offered to the employees. The hybrid or work-from-anywhere model also has stressed companies. The so-called perks within the office have the so-called own in the first place. People are not in the office every day. They only need fruits, beers, game rooms, and relaxing zones.
This new environment has provoked companies and leaders to always search for a different way to be their best people.
Social media and social channels, and communities lost power. The time of the small groups and communities by interests and values has risen. And being part of this new environment, leaders had to focus on re-thinking the approach toward people in the teams; they recharge their leadership styles with a new source of power – the personal path toward anyone and the person’s unique button, brought to the specific person in the particular environment, built only for that person. People now insist on being seen as individuals and heard, understood, and supported as sources of solutions.
The image of the new leader is now different. People have set expectations and demands for this new image. To be a successful leader, you must follow the rules and orders and position yourself in the new image expected from the people you think you are leading. The leader’s behavior is managed by company politics and people’s expectations and needs.
What does this new image look like?
Well, here are some insights to help you, as a leader, to form the best in class behavior toward your team and cover their expectations:
LISTEN TO OTHERS AND BE HEARD
Said the leader needs to build credibility. The topic of active listening has never been so actual as in this current moment. People need the leader to listen to them, what they have to say, what they feel, and the solution they offer. Leaders need to focus on understanding the mini-world of the employee and show support for them. At the same time, people need to see that the support they seek is absolute. No one wants to follow a leader who does not have the power to help them. And by force, I don’t mean formal power. The real power today does not come from the traditional structure but from the leader’s influence toward other people in the organization, no matter the organizational level. To be heard, in that words, means to help people execute their plans and actions with less stress and a higher level of efficiency by knowing which “buttons” to push every time.
CONSISTENT IN MESSAGES
It is more than just a demand from an employee. In politics, this is called “political talking.” In simple words, it means that the talk is never consistent. Many people and leaders say they are “flexible toward changing environment” to mask the inconsistency. Nothing is wrong with that, but when flexibility becomes inconsistent toward mission, vision, and values, it moves from supporting change to a toxic prerequisite for failure. People admire the leader’s behavior as consistent in words and actions. The suitable activities in place should help the message. If not happening, people build their understanding of what they see as actions instead of what they hear as words. Delivering consistent messages is essential for gaining and sustaining results through credibility.
GIVE PEOPLE A REASON TO SHOW THEIR STRENGTH
Many years ago, I had a direct manager who liked to say, “you will do that because I said so.” Nothing wrong with that if you work with robots. Nowadays, people need a reason to put their efforts into work. The leader can be surprised by the potential every person has. They must give the person a reason to invest time, effort, and knowledge – right?
The answer here is YES and, at the same time, NO. The reason to do something is crucial, but it must be your reason. The leader’s reason may differ from the main reason for the particular person. The hardest part of giving a reason to someone to show their strengths is finding a meaningful reason for them. The leader can only count on involvement, participation, and impactful results.
CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT BASED ON TRUST, INSPIRATION, AND STABILITY
Well, here starts the work on it. The previous points in the article are prerequisites, but more is needed to guarantee sustainable results. They point to a much larger plan, or they must be seen as such. First, the actions and behavior of the leader must create safety and trust. People need to trust someone to deliver results for them. If faith is not present, you suffer from lower productivity and efficiency and lack accountability, engagement, and involvement. And trust is built through transparency and consistency in the messages and actions the leader communicates and demonstrates. Being transparent, showing vulnerability in challenging situations, and asking for help are the base for building trust. And on the sound basis of faith, the leader can move to provoke people to outgrow their current behavior and level of accomplishment and inspire them to reach higher results.
As part of building trust and inspiring people, communication is crucial. Many people invest little effort because they don’t see the whole picture with the company. Countless cases exist when people investing much effort, energy, and skills see a company closing its operations in a particular site. Showing people that the company is stable through consistent and repeating information from the company KPI’s results and plans development is essential for the leader to ensure that the broader company strategy, goals, and mission will be reached.
Leaders of today are like producers of a movie. They have to find the best actors, inspire them to give their best, and support them through the shooting process to ensure that the final product will outreach the basic plans. Building the best teams demands that leaders be more knowledgeable, possess extraordinary skills, and behave like humble and simple people. Then only leaders can recharge the people to achieve higher results.