A post-pandemic guide to leadership in 2021

2021 is going to be the year of building up, for some people, it could be from scratch while others mend their broken pieces. During tough times like now, an effective leader would notice beyond what is spoken.

Written By : Nivetha Krishnamoorthy

Date : 05 Feb 2021

A post-pandemic guide to leadership

2021 is significant because it’s a year that people around the world have been looking forward to with hope after a tumultuous 2020. At this point, it is still early to say with certainty if this year is going to be phenomenally different from the previous year, or not.

The past year has been full of valuable lessons, especially for leaders across the globe. A great leader is someone who leads by example & not commands people to follow them. Times are changing and technology is evolving each day and leaders have to keep up with these changes.

New workplace, newer KPIs

The benchmarks that were set for an office environment cannot hold good for an employee while working from home. Now would be a great time to reinvent how you measure your employee’s productivity and performance.

Recognize the areas that need to be changed, align the goals and take time to discuss them individually and have scheduled check-ins to evaluate the goals vs. progress.

With the team members working remotely, it would be helpful to increase the frequency of evaluation as compared to the previous working out of office setup.

Communication is key

Communication is an important skill in a leadership role. Effective communication helps one become an effective leader.

As a leader, there are multiple levels of communication that happens with various people at the organisation. Communication is not just about relaying information to others, it’s also about listening and paying attention. Working remotely makes it difficult to communicate, but not impossible.

Make sure that you are constantly communicating with the team and your team also has an opportunity to communicate without any hesitation. Get your team together and set your expectations for everyone. Setting the expectations empowers your employees.

Beyond listening

2021 is going to be the year of building up, for some people, it could be from scratch while others mend their broken pieces.

During tough times like now, an effective leader would notice beyond what is spoken.

Take notice of what is happening with your employees, personally and professionally. Acknowledge the qualities that make them unique. When your employees feel heard, their trust in the organization increases and it helps them stay motivated even during tough times.

Resilience and agility

Resilience and agility are important leadership characteristics that one must possess. The uncertainty that was brought upon businesses last year is a hard learning for leaders around the world.

Emotionally agile leaders can fully understand their emotional state and navigate around it during difficult times. An agile leader can make decisions and move forward even in the face of failure.

There needs to be constant evaluation of judgement and decisions made in order to keep moving with the pace of the world.

Empathy & vulnerability

In the past, when a leader showcases vulnerability and empathy they were often seen as a sign of weakness. Over the years, there is a change to this approach.

When a leader models empathy towards his team members, it creates a culture in the organization where the qualities of the top management is emulated across the company.

It is important to acknowledge that your team could be facing challenges with their mental health due to working in isolation. When you model a “we are in this together” attitude, your employees are able to relate and trust you more.

In a global workplace where most of us work in a multicultural environment, empathy and vulnerability goes a long way.

Promote connected culture

The culture at your workplace is as important as your vision and mission to manage a successful organization. The work culture is what motivates your employees to come to work every day.

In a remote work setup, it is even more important to have a strong and connected culture since everyone is working in isolation. During times like now, virtual team building activities are helpful to help bring a sense of belonging and unanimity amongst your employees.

Whether it is a leisure night of dinner and dance or a calming mindfulness and meditation session, they help your team members feel connected and unwind after work.

Things to look forward to in 2021

This year will continue to see ambiguity and uncertainty with a glimmer of hope (fingers crossed). That said, it’s going to be exciting times for businesses as they will reinvent their office landscapes and work structures.

Hybrid work style and more

Working remotely all the time is not everyone’s cup of tea. Organizations also need their employees to travel once in a while for meetings that need to be done face to face. This has led to companies adopting the hybrid work style. This allows the employees the flexibility of working from home as well as visiting the office a few times a week.

New technologies to support remote work

Working from home is here to stay.

More and more companies are switching to remote work, as it gives them a lot of flexibility. The sudden increase in working remote has increased the dependency of technology for everything from staying connected to organising information.

We have highly developed technology today to help people work seamlessly from anywhere in the world. However, this year will witness enhanced softwares and tools that will improve remote working conditions.

We are way past the days of conventional leadership styles. The key to being a successful leader in 2021 is going to rely on how well they handle the complex and uncertain world with resilience, agility and empathy in equal parts.