How to Rethink Leadership

By McKenzie Schwark
Rethink Leadership

In an ever-changing world, being adaptable is crucial to survival, especially when it comes to business. Old leadership styles don’t work in this new world. In order to help your team and business not only survive, but thrive, you may need to rethink leadership for a more modern world.

Smart leaders are adapting their leadership styles to meet the needs of a new world. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the working world upside down, and in order to meet employee needs and be an effective leader, you can’t use the same strategies you did even just a few years ago.

Leading remotely

It seems gone are the days of watercooler chats and spontaneous conference room meetings. Many companies have implemented some kind of new work from home strategy in the last couple of years, and it’s likely your team is rarely together in the office if at all. Leading a remote team can present new challenges. It is difficult to connect with your team via Zoom or other video chatting services, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Make sure you’re still offering avenues for your team to communicate openly with you, and that you are available to them when needed. Video meetings can also really drain employees, as they don’t have the same energy as in-person meetings. If you’ve been meeting in the same way as you did pre-COVID, just over video chat, it might be worth revisiting how and why you hold team meetings.

Meeting new expectations

Employees have new expectations for leaders, and they expect that you will be adaptable and meet those needs. It’s hard to effectively lead these days as a cold and stoic authoritative figure. Employees are looking for leaders who are understanding, communicative and empathetic. Learn to listen to your team and find ways to meet their needs. Are they stressed and losing sleep? Consider starting an hour later on Friday mornings. Do they feel the need to answer emails at all hours of the night? Set boundaries around working hours and make sure to not send emails after working hours. Even small and simple changes can make a big difference.

Leading with empathy

Empathy is a major buzzword from the last couple of years, and for good reason. Showing empathy may singlehandedly be the most important skill a leader can possess. It is important for everything from keeping top tier talent to coming up with creative solutions. These days employees are under immense amounts of stress both in and out of the office. Keeping employees mentally and emotionally well is critical to keeping them doing their best work, and showing empathy is the first step in making that happen.

Putting health and wellbeing first

Employees are learning better work-life balance, and for many employees work is no longer their number one priority. They are expecting you to put their wellbeing first and to be more understanding and empathetic when it comes to stressors, unexpected changes, and need for time off. You may want to revisit your policies and implement mental health days, flexible work schedules, or remote options to better meet the mental and emotional health needs your employees are looking for.

Trusting your team

If you’ve got a good team under you, chances are adapting to their needs will only make them better at their jobs. Change can be scary, but trust that your team is smart enough to know what they need and is capable enough to get the job done.

The world is rapidly evolving, and in order to continue being successful you will have to evolve too. It may be quite the challenge, but we know you’re up for it.