Brand-new year, brand-new opportunities. For leaders everywhere, 2023 represents a chance to embrace the person-centered adaptability that the modern workplace has been calling out for.
Hybrid working models are moving out of the infancy stage, employees have more influence than ever, and, according to the BBC, people are becoming more ethically driven in business.
Will 2023 mark the end of an era of negative uncertainty? Whatever transpires, it’s clear that leaders will need to step up to the plate with a new approach.
If you’re hoping to grow as a leader in the new year, here are five top tips worth taking a look at.
1. Focus on Collaborative, not Hierarchical Leadership
While it’s true that some people feel more comfortable with a clear leadership hierarchy, it’s time to shift the focus toward the value of learning from each other, to the sharing of experiences, and to the wonders of collaboration.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but the emphasis is. A prime example of an area where this outlook can shine is in reverse-diverse mentorship. This is where a junior employee will mentor a senior leader about their cultural background and beliefs with the goal of building a more inclusive relationship.
Collaborative leaders still flex their managerial skillsets, they just do it in a way that gives people the space they need to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
Top Tip – Creating an environment in which everyone feels psychologically safe is one of the best ways to foster real creativity, enabling fluid collaboration amongst an empowered workforce.
2. Adopt a Growth Mindset
What does tomorrow have in store? Leaders with a growth mindset are willing to learn from the past and the present and change outcomes in the future, as opposed to leaders with a fixed mindset, who tend to stagnate.
When business success hinges on agility, those with a growth mindset are the ones who can rise to overcome the challenge, welcome feedback, and evolve.
Top Tip – The world is changing quickly. Seeking out new opportunities for personal growth is vital, otherwise, the competition will leave you behind, and you’ll have a hard time managing an ambitious team. Seeking out a mentor, keeping yourself in the loop, attending events and conferences, and engaging with training opportunities is a must, even for a leader at the most senior level.
The tumultuous world can take its toll. Whether it’s a gloomy headline or the relentlessness of the cost-of-living crisis, it can be difficult to stay positive when every bit of bad news lands in your lap.
Great leaders acknowledge their responsibility to guide the team, even when things are tough. It’s okay to have a bad day, but it’s still important to encourage and support one another in the face of mounting pressure, both from the outside and inside worlds.
Top Tip – Provide feedback that reinforces great behaviour at every opportunity. Give praise and recognition, encourage mistakes and errors by reframing them as learning opportunities, and seeking feedback on ways to behave differently.
Another Top Tip – Learn to recognise the signs that point to a problem. By getting to know your team and what ‘normal’ looks like for them, you can recognise the abnormal, enabling you to reach out when you can tell something’s wrong. Stress affects everyone differently, and a good leader knows what this looks like in their team.
4. Encourage Autonomy
Give your team some space! In place of micromanaging, the hybrid era has given rise to a new workplace scourge, the remote helicopter boss.
Helicopter bosses, writes Yessi Bello Perez for LinkedIn News, ‘Hover over their employees and constantly annoy them.’
Swapping micromanagement for trust, freedom, and autonomy is a superb way to grow your team’s talents. How can someone truly step into a role and make it their own if they never get the opportunity to learn, to make mistakes, and innovate in a way that suits them?
Your people have been hired to do the job, so they should be trusted to do just that. If you are a helicopter manager, it doesn’t mean you should stop supporting people, it just means that the way you deliver that support should change.
Top Tip – Flexible and reliable processes are a fantastic framework for your team. Processes provide a foundation, as long as they’re open for interpretation and allow your people the space they need to thrive.
5. Use Purposeful Communication
For many, communication has greatly suffered over the last few years. Meaning is now spread across a variety of channels, and the impact gets lost in the delivery. Whether it’s an endless email chain, a messenger chat, a WhatsApp, a voice call, or a video call, there are so many channels, it’s worryingly easy to forget the human element.
By reframing the way you communicate with your team and focusing on the purpose (and the method) of communication, you can improve the value of the message.
For example, setting aside one-on-one time with a clear agenda can help fortify the purpose of the meeting, elevating the importance of communication, rather than losing it in a never-ending thread of instant messages.
Top Tip – Practice your active listening skills. One of the most valuable traits for any leader is the ability to actively listen, take on new ideas, and to engage with the needs of the team.
Do you Need Some Support?
Here at Equiris Consulting, we’ve helped many professionals unlock their potential (and the potential of their teams), develop their skill sets, and develop an inclusive, effective leadership style.
Through a bespoke blend of diagnostics, training, strategy development, and embedded change, we can develop the agile leaders of tomorrow, the ones who can drive the future of the business.
Reach out to the team today if you’re hoping to develop your leadership skills further in the new year and beyond, we’re here to help.