5 Leadership Secrets for the Modern Workplace

Effective leadership is more important than ever. Leaders are struggling to engage people in today’s work environment, from managing remote staff to adjusting to new organisational structures — and that disengagement has a cost.

According to Gallup, «low engagement alone costs the global economy $7.8 trillion.» Employee engagement cannot be ignored by organisations, especially in a tight labour market. Employee engagement must be rethought from the ground up by businesses.

«More than anything else, employees want to feel valued, respected, and supported,» says Chris McLean, vice president of training at The Centre for Leadership Studies and worldwide master trainer. Leaders have an important role in making employees feel appreciated and supported, which may contribute to increased workplace engagement.

It’s time for learning and development (L&D) to reconsider our approach to leadership development so that we can educate leaders to effectively assist their workers — and, as a result, transform organisations. Let’s look at five secrets for transforming your leadership training for the modern world of work.

The Organisational Structure Is Flat

Hierarchical, top-down organisational systems are becoming less popular, with ideas, instructions (and other things) flowing downwards from the C-level through management to individual employees.

Instead, forward-thinking companies encourage leadership at all levels. This varies from company to company, or even within particular divisions within the same company, but a flat organisation often has a streamlined, lean hierarchy with fewer levels of administration. Employees have more decision-making authority under a flat organisation, and communication is more frequent. Individuals are allowed more freedom to respond to difficulties quickly, experiment with new ideas, and develop more efficient methods.

However, for this to work, L&D must equip employees at all levels with leadership skills. Individual contributors must have the abilities and confidence to demonstrate leadership; for example, someone heading a committee or driving a project will require leadership qualities to carry the initiative through. Someone who does not formally lead others may be at a disadvantage if unexpectedly called upon to do so.

Increase the Information Flow

As previously stated, a flat organisation results in a bidirectional flow of information and influence. This is fantastic! However, it can be chaotic, particularly if business leaders are unwilling to step in and help manage the flow.

Developing a common language of performance may aid in this by not only providing individual contributors with leadership abilities, but also allowing them to interact throughout the organisation while holding themselves and their colleagues responsible.

Consider the following scenario: a marketing department introduces a new product without consulting with the sales team. A lack of cross-departmental communication may force sales representatives to scramble to disclose product characteristics to potential buyers. Instead, suppose if a product rollout team was formed expressly for this new product, with both sales people and marketing team members participating. This hybrid team may be managed by someone from the sales or marketing teams — someone knowledgeable about the new product’s specifications but not necessary at the managerial level.

Make Employees Feel Appreciated

Employee appreciation is a great tool that may help you increase employee engagement. Employees are more motivated and engaged in their work when they feel appreciated and understand how their job position relates to business goals.

Leaders should interact with workers on a frequent basis to assist them realise the influence they have on the organisation. They should also collaborate with employees to develop professional objectives and link them with opportunities for learning and promotion to help them accomplish those goals. Employees, on the other hand, must take an active part in their own growth. «Individual contributors need to take ownership of their engagement, raise their hands, and ask for what they need,» McLean adds.

Leaders and staff should collaborate to develop an executable strategy. Leaders can begin by assisting an employee in developing a skills matrix — a grid that helps visualise an individual’s ability levels in various areas. You may assist your employees in devising a strategy to go where they want to go by mapping out where they are currently.

Accept Change

As we all know, the only constant in today’s world is change. Employee demands will continuously evolve as technology advances and processes or procedures change. This necessitates leaders regularly assessing workers’ talents, recognising any skill gaps, and offering the appropriate degree of help and direction at the appropriate time.

It is difficult to navigate change. We are not all born with the abilities to accomplish this. To succeed in changing conditions, leaders and individual contributors must be prepared with change management abilities. In a flat organisational structure, skills such as emotional intelligence, clear communication, and peer motivation are critical.

Work-Life Balance

The leader’s job has evolved significantly. Leaders must analyse workers’ emotional states as well as their skill sets. They must support the entire individual, not just the workflow. «People are bringing their whole lives to work now,» McLean adds. «Employees no longer see work as separate from their personal lives.»

Individual contributors may be met where they are by leaders who provide more flexible scheduling, remote work and learning choices, and wellness assistance. Leaders should also encourage open communication and cooperation, as well as provide workers with the skills and resources needed to make that a reality in a distributed workplace.

Looking Ahead

Organisations are today experiencing unprecedented levels of change. However, strong leadership can mean the difference between an organization’s success and failure. L&D must endeavour to prepare leaders to help employees in these tumultuous times. You can guarantee that your organisation is ready for whatever the modern world of work throws at it by staying ahead of technological change with appropriate training and assistance.

A leadership model, such as the Situational Leadership® Model, may give a systematic strategy to developing leaders across levels and departments, as well as useful metrics to track their growth. Understanding your learners’ Performance Readiness® as well as the leadership styles that may best fit them can assist you in developing training that speaks directly to each individual learner.


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