2020 – A year many of us will remember, probably for all the wrong reasons. Business leaders have undoubtedly had the most challenging experience of their careers, putting on a brave face and leading their organisations through the COVID-19 crisis. Many businesses have had to make difficult decisions, whether it is having to make employees redundant, asking workers to take a pay cut, or having to put staff on furlough.
Whilst this year has not been short of challenges, the majority of leaders say that this period has given them the opportunity to reflect on their leadership style. According to a recent study on LinkedIn, the uncertainty around COVID-19 causing fear and worry amongst employees has directly resulted in business leaders having to rely on their gut instinct and softer skills more than ever before.
A key attribute of leadership is the positive influencing of emotions and behaviours and aligning those to a great purpose. It is very important to keep everyone in your team looking forward and painting a clear vision for the future. This will help people become more positive. Your workplace environment should also be a space that seeks to motivate and inspire.
It is worth noting that the best leaders possess the ability to make people feel special and valued. Even with employees working remotely from home, it is still possible to transmit that you care and show emotion on a zoom call. People are juggling many challenges; it is important that conversations are not just keep at a high level. Empathetic leaders have a genuine curiosity about the lives of those who work for them, and they show their interest by asking questions about people’s lives, their challenges, their families, their aspirations etc. It is not professional interest but personal and is the strongest way to build relationships with your team. Even the most resilient of people need someone to talk to help them overcome challenges.
Constantly striving to improve your leadership abilities and have a growth mindset has proven to be invaluable. The pressures of leadership can seem daunting. The expectation for leaders to be both empathetic as well as highly engaged and fact based in their actions, has left many CEOs doubting their leadership ability. No one has all the answers least of all the leader. Being prepared to ask for opinions and feedback from your team and always be prepared to learn, will go a long way. After all, a great company culture sets the foundations for real, tangible business growth.
Navigating a clear path through 2020 and into 2021 has brought everyone out of their comfort zone. A leader who can effectively adapt to the continually evolving challenges are the ones who are most likely to thrive.
Remember, leadership is not a position it is an attitude of mind. If you’re interested improving your skills, Searchlight offer a variety of courses designed to help you be the best leader you can be. From Virtual Mentoring to Essential Management Skills, we can help you up your confidence and improve your people skills in order to get the best out of your team.
A full list of courses available on the topic of management and leadership skills is available on the Searchlight website.