After two years of uncertainty during the pandemic, we have all got used to adapting to changing situations. As well as our home lives, working styles, processes, and practices have been disrupted, shaken up, and changed as the way we work has changed. And it’s naïve to think that things will go back to exactly how they were before. There are people who have started new jobs during the pandemic, have left their old jobs and many who have progressed their careers during these changing times.
Leadership as we knew it before has changed. And so we need to re-think leadership in the future as we go into 2022. We all need to think about the things that are important. And we need to think about what leadership means to the changing world of work in 2022 and beyond.
Here’s 5 ways to re-think leadership in 2022
1. Your teams will change frequently
With 2021 being called the year of ‘The Great Resignation’, it’s true that almost one in four workers are planning to change jobs. So if you’re leading a team of people, it’s very likely that some of them are either planning to leave now or might during 2022. There is a cost to organisations when people leave, an estimated £25,000, but if people want to leave and find a new job, they will. As an employer, you need to think about how to make your organisation a nice, inclusive place to work so that people feel they can belong. You need to consider your reputation as an employer, and you need to be thinking about recruitment and how to generate a steady stream of people who want to work at your place. Think about recruitment as an ongoing process, where you are always trying to be a great employer where people want to work.
2. Location and clocks are less important than tasks and objectives
To attract people to want to work for your organisation over others, you will have to re-think what it means to work for you. Where the office, is, how many hours people sit at a desk, and what time people arrive and leave is no longer a key indicator of performance. As a leader in 2022 and beyond, work will be about defining tasks, and objectives and then giving people the autonomy to complete those things in their own time, and in their own way. You are there to give guidance and support if they need it. You are not there to check what time they switch on their laptop and how many emails they send. Leadership in 2022 and beyond is about trusting people to deliver on their tasks and objectives.
3. Innovation will come from inclusive teams
If you want to generate new ideas, new ways of working, and design new things, then you need different types of people to bring different perspectives. This is a fact that has been overlooked for too long. Those organisations who create new ideas will be the ones that include different types of people. So that means re-thinking how you create your teams. It means stepping out from your comfort zone and taking a good look at how you recruit and develop people into their roles. You need a diverse range of different types of people and perspectives to challenge you. Teams of clones will not give you that. So think about all of the different types of perspectives you could include in your teams and how you can include them. Think about the roles and the tasks, and then about how you can include different types of people to fulfil those roles.
4. Community and purpose are key to retaining people
People want to feel like they work for an organisation that values people. They want to feel they contribute to something worthwhile. They want to make a difference to the world. They want to work for organisations with a strong purpose. And as work takes up a lot of our time, a feeling of purpose is ever more important. And linked to that is a feeling of community or organisations that care. People want to work for B-Corps, sustainable businesses, those who support charities, and more. It’s about more than a job, people want to feel that what they do contributes to a greater purpose. As an employer and as a leader of people, you need to show how you value purpose. You need to be clear about what your values and purpose are. And you need to communicate them well to engage people to want to work with you.
5. Wellbeing is more than a buzzword
What we have seen in year two of the pandemic is that sustained pressure on people with the pandemic uncertainty leads to people feeling like they can’t cope. And employers have a duty to respond to that. Employee wellbeing is no longer a buzzword. It’s crucial to ensure your employees are resilient and look after themselves. How you respond to that is down to you as an employer. Many are offering training, subscriptions to services, budgets for finding help and support. Employees will look for those workplaces that prioritise these things. And everyone wants to be treated as an individual. So giving everyone the same thing is not going to work. You need to give people options and think about what will work best for your team.
People have choices about where they can choose to work. With remote working, hybrid working, and flexible work, there are many more options available to people. Increasingly businesses are ‘remote first’ which means that there are no location limits to where people can choose to work. As an employer, It’s about responding to these trends, and thinking about how you can create an environment that people choose to work in.
If you want help with developing inclusive ways of working and leading email email@example.com. We’re here to help!