In the past two years, there’s been no shortage of learning, both in the business world and beyond. Whether that’s how to run Zoom calls effectively, how to pivot to working from home, and how to handle hybrid work environments, there have been challenges for everyone. The same is true for leaders, who in many cases had to learn almost instantaneously how to be “remote managers” when many were used to co-located teams. And, not only COVID and remote work, but a big change in recent years has been the entrance of Gen Z into the workplace, and with that all the attendant expectations, cultural norms, and values that come with it.
So, what does it take to be a leader in 2022? We’ve put together a list of three things great leaders should do in 2022 to be the best leader possible.
1. Strengthen Your Company Culture
Good leaders naturally help create a sense of culture around their businesses, and work to bring all their employees in and make them feel like a part of the same team. As the great remote work revolution showed us, moving from a co-located team to more of a remote one can make culture and team building more difficult. This is because our prior conceptions of team and culture building mostly involved in-person activities, and getting that face-to-face time that is so helpful in what is known as the ‘soft-skills.’ The challenge for leaders is to sustain the company culture while employees are working remotely. Many leaders who embraced the shift to working from home innovated by using things like “virtual happy hours”, where everyone meets digitally to have a drink or snack, or even facilitating virtual group games that gave everyone a chance to relax a little and have some fun.
Related to this point about culture is the idea of emotional intelligence. Successful modern organizations have strong cultures in part because they’ve created what are known as “psychologically safe” environments for their employees, meaning that people feel encouraged and supported, even when they fail. Every good leader knows that failure is an essential part of success, and in emotionally intelligent workplaces, failure isn’t seen as negative; it’s seen as a step in the right direction to success. This sense of psychological safety is directly tied to emotional intelligence. Simply put, emotional intelligence means that you’re aware of the feelings of your employees and you employ soft skills to leverage those in positive ways. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent will be better at relating to and communicating with their employees, so this makes it an essential skill, especially as the culture of work at large moves further away from hard-line authoritarianism to a more balanced and egalitarian mindset.
2. Stay Current with Technology
Remember when we all had to learn how to give screen share permissions and figure out how to use a beach sunset as our background? That probably seems like second nature to us now, but there was a time where Zoom was still largely unfamiliar to most people. Because the avenues of technology and business, and business technology, are so closely intertwined, if you want to stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry and in the business world at large, you have to keep up with the tech. This also means that you’ll likely have to invest in new tech; that’s just the cost of doing business in the modern world. There was a time before email when fax machines had to be brought and installed in every office; now, it’s webcams and cloud-storage. The marketing and advertising industry is a great example of this. Thanks to the proliferation of social media platforms, and each of those platforms’ constantly changing nature, it’s incumbent upon marketing and advertising agencies to stay up to date on all things social media. If they didn’t, they’d quickly become obsolete.
3. Be Teachable
It is a hallmark of great leaders that they’re never done learning, which has to start from the premise that they don’t know everything. This is difficult for some leaders to imagine, but therein lies the problem. We can never know everything, and as the last two years have taught us, even if we think we know everything, something will inevitably come along and bring all our previously held conceptions crashing down to the floor. COVID reinvented the way we look at work, and no one was expecting. The leaders who succeeded most throughout this time were all leaders who were willing to learn, never assumed they knew it all, and stayed nimble on their feet.
Methods of 100 Coaches offers high-quality leadership training geared specifically to train you for the future of business. Our instructors are hand-selected from one of the most prestigious leadership groups in the world: the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches. Each coach has to pass rigorous standards and this group represents a collection of some of the top experts in their fields. As your Methods instructors, they’ll teach you all you need to know about leading in this new era of work, and equip you with timeless skills that’ll ensure a long and prosperous career.
The journey to becoming a better leader is one that really never ends; you should constantly be striving to improve yourself and the way you lead your teams for an all around better business. While you may never know ‘everything’, with these tips, you can be sure to stay a little ahead of the curve and become the best leader you can be.