The 3 Most Important Things Leaders Should Focus on in 2022

Today’s leaders face new challenges in leading the workforce and creating results while keeping the social and corporate structure effective in producing results. In this article, we look at the three prominent leadership concerns impacting the world of work. If you are vying to reach the full potential of your leadership and career, this article is definitely for you.

THE 3 LEADERSHIP CONCERNS

  • Leading during and after a crisis
  • Hybrid work
  • Diversity and inclusion

These are essential topics and directly relate to the challenges you will face this year and likely during the next decade. These three areas emerged naturally and were not planned for but have impacted the world of work and what leaders need to focus on moving forward. It has also triggered a shift from what we see as work from the industrial age to what work will mean in the future. We are at the beginning of an evolution of work.

LEADING DURING AND AFTER CRISIS

We are already aware of people’s concerns during the Covid crises, including job security, working from home, illness, death, economies etc. However, there is an additional layer to the situation now, which concerns what happens after a life-changing event — the post-impact including new insights, realisations, expectations, fears and the impact of trauma, individual and collective.

We have all heard about the GREAT Resignation. The focus has been on “getting through” so much so that it is easy to miss the internal changes occurring for their people while they were getting through it. People’s values, expectations, hopes and fears were all front and centre as they faced so much uncertainty; this has shaped their ideas of the future and their discontentment with the present.

This will play a significant part in employee attraction, engagement and retention. We are all coming through a global crisis, and the impacts on you and your people are still only emerging. We need to factor this into our leadership! Trauma-informed practices will be essential to prevent leaders and team members from getting burned out and acting out at work!

LEADING REMOTELY AND HYBRID WORKING

Covid forced people to work remotely. Many do not want to return to work physically, at least not every day. So it is apparent Hybrid is here to stay, and this is creating tension for many organisations — the need to adapt as quickly as they did to Covid to their employee’s needs.

There is a challenge for the organisations wanting things to return to “normal” and the reality that employees now want to work differently and have other options available to them.

Working remotely yielded great results as organisations saw rapid productivity growth. But, with time, the sense of belongingness towards the organisation started to decline, ultimately affecting the loyalty and connection employees were feeling to their organisations. Leading or managing the workforce in the hybrid model is challenging as a leader must influence and engage people differently.

The ability to listen to employees, meet their reasonable needs, manage performance, and adapt your leadership preferences is a part of leadership requirements now.

Holding this tension in the coming year will be a significant part of leadership that can retain employees, support high performance and attract new talent.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

With many social justice issues happening outside the organisation, and finally, people saying enough is enough, diversity and inclusion have become a significant focus (long overdue).

Leaders now need to be inclusive and get results through high performance. Which hasn’t been the case before, and this expectation isn’t going anywhere. Most leaders have never received training or coaching about being inclusive and how to utilise it to create high performing teams. In fairness, it is a new concept (for private organisations anyway!), and now you need to flick the switch and be inclusive with little to no idea what it really means, oh and get it right! (so the pressure is on)

The best thing you can do is probably start with this article or podcast with the Irish Management Institute.

WHAT COMPLICATIONS DOES THIS BRING FOR THE FUTURE WORK?

  • With more millennials and other generations in the workforce, the older management models are becoming obsolete.
  • There are multi-generational workforces now, and each generation brings its own talent and skillset.
  • Unlike before, the length of time an employee stays in an organisation does not define their value. People move now because organisations are still highering up, rather than promoting up.
  • New technology is changing what it means to work, and a leader needs to keep up to date.
  • Both the employees and consumers have social expectations from an organisation. For example, people want their company to support the same social cause.
  • People are becoming front and centre to everything. Work has become a place of social value now, not just a place for a financial reward.
  • Some countries are establishing new laws as the workforce changes. For example, Ireland is developing a “work from home” policy to provide a sense of security to people working remotely.

Leading this year and over the following years will require leaders to navigate a changing climate and respond to post Covid implications, hybrid working and diversity and inclusion. None of these is going away, and each will shape what it means to “work” and “lead” for decades to come.

TO GET MORE SUPPORT WITH YOUR LEADERSHIP PROGRESSION AND DEVELOPMENT, YOU CAN BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION WITH SILE HERE.

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Sile Walsh HDip, MSc

Sile Walsh HDip, MSc

⭐ Specialises in #Leadershipdevelopment & #psychology 📚 PhD loading in #InclusiveLeadership & #organisationalpsychology