Five Covid-19 leadership behaviours to maintain in 2022
Covid-19 has undoubtedly cast an enormous shadow globally, but it has also reshaped leadership.
Rewind two years and some leaders were already embracing behaviors like servant leadership, and new approaches, like hybrid working. As a global people development company, at Insights we put our people firmly at the center of everything we do and work hard to accommodate individual working preferences. But the pandemic has acted as a super-accelerator, moving things along further and faster than anyone could have imagined. It has also changed what we expect from leaders and organizations – and there’s no going back.
As we move towards the end of another turbulent year and look forward with confidence, it is obvious that we must hold onto what COVID-19 has taught us, and continue to drive forward this people-focused, agenda of wellbeing, centered on our core values and adapting our employee propositions to capture the attention of key talent as much as we can.
For me here are five leadership behaviors to maintain as we move towards 2022:
- Getting comfortable with intimacy. Most people will remember in 2017 when an American academic was interrupted by his children during a live television interview– the clip soon went viral. Fast forward to 2021 and virtual meetings are often interrupted by children, or pets – or an Amazon delivery! It is normal. That is unlikely to change anytime soon, and nor should it.
In the months ahead, as colleagues continue to work remotely, or adopt hybrid patterns of working, leaders will need to get increasingly comfortable with intimacy. They will need to understand that personal can, and will, intersect with professional, and respond in a human-centred way.
Homeworking, whether full or part-time, and our reliance on technology has redefined the way we connect, communicate and collaborate. It has also highlighted the importance of relationships. Where relationships were strong, people transitioned to a virtual world – interruptions and all – more easily. Where relationships were less robust, virtual working only exposed that further.
- Listening and responding authentically. Covid-19 upped the ante on many of the ‘softer’ aspects of leadership including, listening and responding authentically. The most successful leaders have taken the time to listen to the personal testimonies of their people, empathised, and responded authentically – seeking to find the right solution. As we enter a new year, leaders must remember to retain these essential human skills.
- Being grateful. Regularly thanking from the top creates a powerful trickle-down effect that flows through an organisation. Covid-19 was a leveller – and incubator – of leadership because no one had experienced anything like it before. At Insights, we have found countless different ways of being grateful and recognising the enormous efforts of our people. Personally, as a CEO I have lost count of the number of times during the pandemic I have sat on phone calls thanking people from the bottom of my heart for their dedication and commitment to helping the business through.
- Trusting in your instincts. As time passes, leaders become more confident and steadier in decision-making. Covid-19 accelerated this journey for many as there simply wasn’t the usual time for second guessing. My reflection here is that, whilst technical capability is important, surrounding yourself with people you trust and respect and empowering them to gather as much information as possible and make recommendations – and then go is essential. In a crisis, decision making needs to be agile, instinctive and fast. Learn also to ‘fail fast’ and recover quickly. Try not to dwell too much about getting things wrong. Do something and know you’ll probably do it right. If, however, it does go wrong, learn the lessons and carry those forward into the next decision – and beyond.
- Investing in self-awareness. Self-aware leaders know what they are great at and any potential blind-spots; they know where and how they can add most value; how to challenge appropriately; and how to turn their ideas into new realities. They understand how others perceive them and can adapt their approach in the moment. They also know what those around them are great at and the value that they can bring. Once you understand yourself, and others, as a leader, you can moderate your behaviours to build stronger relationships and achieve better outcomes
So, invest in becoming highly self-aware and you’ll give your people, and your organisation, the best chance of success for the future. After everything we’ve experienced during the past two years, it’s incumbent upon leaders to ensure that we keep moving forward.
Written by Fiona Logan,
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