For most of us, the past year has been quite a whirlwind. As the world started to open up after pandemic-driven stagnancy, workplaces sought to incorporate lessons brought by disruption to improve the management of teams.
From recognising the importance of remote work to prioritising ethical practices, the trends we have seen over the past year continue to play a key role in shifting traditional perspectives on work and business leadership. With this, let’s flesh out what these trends are and why continuing them could pave the way for your organisation’s success moving forward.
Workplace Positivity in Remote Setups
The boom of remote work is often touted as one of the biggest paradigm shifts of the decade. With health regulations driving companies to make adjustments to the office-based setup, more employers are recognising the value of flexible work settings and how they help employees feel more productive and empowered with their time.
The challenge now is to foster a positive workplace culture with remote staff. With distance as a barrier, leaders should continue working through technology to identify potential workplace strains. While it’s easy to pick up on a team member’s body language in person, communicating via virtual channels can be comparatively challenging.
In the coming year, leaders would do well to encourage a positive and inclusive workplace that translates to the cyber world. Good communication, after all, is crucial to an organisation’s success. If there is poor communication, it can lead to projects failing and employees leaving. By building on internal communications and employee engagement, a leader can drive positive change that can make their organisation an ideal workplace.
Humanistic Leadership Style
Ideal places to work are those operating under empathic leadership. Nowadays, progressive workplaces aim to dismantle long-held notions of authoritarian leadership and bring the focus back to humanity. Most of the time, empathic leaders are effective in boosting employee morale.
To imbue this kind of leadership, one should encourage communicating openly and treating every team member with respect. On top of that, leaders need to foster a culture of feedback that would help everyone through growth and self-development. Incorporating an empathic and emotionally agile leadership style is a welcome change that helps improve work culture, team productivity, and employee retention.
Focus on Employee Well-Being
Traditionally, the hallmarks of successful business leadership revolved around economic achievements with little to no consideration of employee well-being. Now, with the popularity of comfortable work settings and the entrance of socially aware younger generations, the focus has shifted toward a more worker-centric perspective. In short, more employers are prioritising the well-being of their employees.
With COVID-19 reminding us that adherence to safety regulations could mean life or death, the increased focus on employee health and wellness is poised to continue in 2023. However, prioritising well-being is not just about maintaining just physical health. Well-being also covers mental issues, which became a standalone health crisis along with COVID-19 over the past few years.
In 2023, leaders would do well to sustain the emphasis on employees’ well-being. Some actionable changes include adding more health benefits, wellness programs, and flexible work hours for both in-office and remote workers. It would also be advisable to encourage work-life balance and to take burnout concerns seriously.
Ideally, leadership should be able to strike a balance between driving concrete results and ensuring employee well-being. In the end, healthy and mentally ready colleagues are the ones who bring the most to the table and boost overall productivity.
Promotion of Ethical Practices
Currently most organisations face the risk of sustaining a bad reputation if they conduct unethical practices. While it is undeniable that some companies do such practices deliberately, some experts believe that bypassing ethics can also be unintentional. Some organisations may be genuinely unaware that their policies are unethical, and it takes a higher level of self-awareness to identify ethical blindspots.
For instance, a workplace that’s too heavy on incentives and other performance-based advantages may result in cheating and hampered collaboration among team members. Also, focusing too much on getting things done may discourage transparency and constructive feedback, especially if employees are under pressure and wish to prevent negative repercussions. In the months ahead, workplaces should consider being part of the trend of ensuring ethical adherence to sustain a healthy workplace and a skilled team.
Aside from workplace matters, ethical practices also cover societal and environmental factors. For forward-thinking leaders, this means prioritising sustainability and bettering the broader community. These efforts stem from an understanding that companies don’t operate in a bubble, and that business decisions can also affect communities to a degree.
Openness to Change
We all know that the key to survival is the capacity to adapt. With the drastic changes brought on by financial, health, and economic crises, today’s successful businesses have figured out a way to leverage these changes instead of getting eradicated by them. With this, leaders must know how to recognise uncontrollable changes and apply an entrepreneurial mindset to come up with solutions.
To spur innovation, you need to assess potential opportunities that these changes may bring. Such opportunities may lead you to create new offerings, identify solutions for speeding up processes, and determine new uses for old products. With that in mind, it’s important to note that having a change-focused mindset does not only concern profit generation. It also applies to organisational processes and leadership strategies, especially when handling intergenerational teams.
Onward to Better Leadership
The past year was a time for organisations to reevaluate their ways of weathering disruption. Now that 2022 has come to a close, leaders should take a hard look at their organisations’ overall outlook and identify what worked and what didn’t. While it’s true that trends come and go, the most important thing is that your business acknowledges the need to improve and remains poised to thrive and survive for the years to come.