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As we come to the end of 2022, it is a good time to reflect on what has happened over the past three years. It has been a rough time for most of us. Top of the list was the Covid pandemic that disrupted our world in so many ways. 

Associated with Covid was the sudden shift to work-from-home and the global economic downswing. Added to this are the current war in Ukraine and the intensifying manifestations of climate change. 

The governments of many countries are going through crises of democracy as ideologically opposed factions resort to unprecedented tactics to wrest and hold power. All of these have presented challenges which we have had to face and from which we somehow must extract opportunities.

So, it’s little wonder that we just want to put our heads down and get to the end of the year. We want to have a rest break, recharge the batteries, and then take on the trials and prospects of the new year once we get there. We just want to have a quiet space to get away from the constant, energy-sapping demands we face as leaders.

But deep down we know that can never be the case. It’s not just enough to do the job. We must constantly and actively work to make our organisations better. Better for our teams, better for our customers and better for the world at large.

Taking a pragmatic view of the future provides every leader with the necessary mental structures that help to deal with uncertainty. Here are some things to think about as you go to the end of the year.

Take a stand 

Irrespective of the size of your organisation, it leaves a social and environmental footprint. You and your organisation are active participants in all that is happening. It’s time to clarify your stand on matters such as social justice, corruption, personal privacy, environmental degradation, and climate change.

Changing organisational structures

The way we view organisations is changing and this is because the ways we work are changing. Organisations are evolving towards a flatter, networked way of doing work. This is partly because of work-from-home, but also because Big T technology works better in flat structures with short decision cycles. 

Complex organisational structures get in the way of agile work solutions. Leaders must create new ways of functioning based on partnership, which requires listening to team members, allowing employees to take greater responsibility, and giving broader space for initiative and opinion. Review your current team structure and workflow. Where are the delays and bottlenecks? They are good places to start changing structures and work relationships.

Hybrid or remote teams

This should be no surprise to you. Covid has solidified the acceptance that teams can work remotely or in a hybrid work model. The days when administrative work was performed in an office are gone, and the model that requires a team to work from 9 to 5 is no longer efficient. 

People with children appreciate the opportunity to collect their children from school or attend important school events or sports matches, and still meet all their work obligations. There is a general expectation in organisations that the regulations of time and place of work are more flexible and provide them with a greater life-work balance. This trend will shape the workplace in the years to come. 

Your challenge is to learn the new leadership role –to adjust yourself to employees working at different locations and various hours. Team management in such conditions is not easy, but the performance benefits are significant once mastered. And to put it another way, flexible times and flexible workplace employment are part of the new psychological contract of employment.

Diversity in the workplace

This matter is discussed at length elsewhere in RegInsights.  Leaders have to be ready to deal with a diversity of values, attitudes, and approaches in the workplace. Different first languages, differences in cultures, more sensitive new forms of communication, and cooperation are just the elements that pose a challenge for leaders. Good leaders demonstrate that diversity is an aspect of their business that they acknowledge, appreciate, and value.

The role of technology

Generation Z and post-millennials expect new technologies. They want new work toys. Constantly emerging digital solutions and systems facilitate and speed up the performance of boring repetitive tasks. 

To get the most out of these new ground rules, our teams need to learn and adapt all the time. Technological advancement is the way to build the competitiveness of your organisation and increase the innovativeness of everyday activities. Your leadership challenge is to create a learning culture for dynamically changing times to grow your team. 

Here is a useful article to follow up on

 How Technology is Changing the Future of Logistics and Supply Chain Management 

The increasing importance of soft skills

Leadership soft skills have become more and more important. And correspondingly the value of hard skills has reduced, although they are still significant. 

Soft skills include, but are not limited to teamwork, problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and time management. Soft skills don’t happen by themselves, they must constantly be developed and applied. You must adapt the application to your organisation. 

You can read this article that deals, in some depth, with the 11 Cs of soft skills.

You will also find further insights here: 

Rethinking performance management

Another fundamental rethink for most organisations, especially post-Covid, is performance management. Instead of just relaunching the old system, now is an ideal time to think about the fundamental goals of the system. In the past, it’s been more about individual performance, often in isolation from the rest of the organisation. In a team-based world, this is no longer viable.

Current approaches seek to demonstrate how individual performance contributes to organisational performance and to clarify the links between individual goals and organisational goals. This way of looking at performance management provides a sense of purpose and connection. It is particularly important when many team members are working in a hybrid work model.

As we come to the end of this year, it’s time to reflect on these and other matters.  Great leaders are constantly learning. They challenge the status quo and question long-held assumptions. Sometimes this requires unlearning old habits, changes in personal mindsets and, of course, learning new skills. 

One of the steps to becoming a better team leader is keeping abreast with global leadership trends. This takes business leadership to a higher level providing at the same time better functioning of team members in the workplace. Something to ponder over when you take your year-end holiday.

Here are more articles to help you get your thoughts going. 

High-Performance Work Teams

Courageous Leadership

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Author James Forson

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