If you thought leadership wasn’t for the faint of heart before the pandemic, you’re right and it’ll only become amplified in 2021 and beyond. It’s the reason why we see some leaders talk the talk but not walk the walk.
Well, leadership involves both. It’s not only doing all the things we know to be true about what leadership is but also living and breathing it or what I like to call, being the Director of your life first.
A way of living as the leader of your own life and effectively leading others to do the same.
The pandemic we’re still navigating as a globe only heightened the struggles of leadership, yet many of these challenges they face have been there for years.
Issues such as:
- Equity in the workplace and the growing wage gap (including lower-level staff and front line workers)
- Mental health in the workplace
- Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
- Gender representation in leadership roles
- Variety of culture-based issues that lead to poor employee retention
Fortunately, many of these are within your control to solve. Think beyond strategies, method’s or processes and start looking at the very elements that impact the way you lead.
Yes, an effective people strategy is important but it won’t be effective if it’s based on a broken system, the wrong people are in place and executing poorly or are taking direction from a leader who is not aligned to a people-first approach.
Your people are ultimately taking direction from you as a leader. Start there. What decisions are you making that are affecting some of the challenges listed above?
A 2019 report showed data from a survey of 156 CEOs, presidents and chairpeople that revealed executive’s biggest priorities to what keeps them up at night.
Their biggest priority had to do with both strategy development and people development.
The top 4 out of 5 priorities were related to people and optimizing talent.
If your organizational priorities don’t include your people and they aren’t your top priority, I’d challenge you to consider where your attention is and re-adjust.
The last year alone revealed these very priorities of leaders and heightened many of the ones I listed above. These stats will likely stay a top priority and continue to grow in urgency. It’s a clear sign that people are at the very core of every business, whether you’re a corporation or not.
Will not serve much of a purpose if not met with the intention of – to support our people and give them what they need to do their best work.
Yes, of course, other matters need to be considered however, the underlying cause needs to be solved first, which things like money, technology and a new benefits program won’t be THE solution.
After all, we’re dealing with human beings that are fluid, emotional creatures. The needs in the workplace are often in direct conflict with human emotions and needs we ALL experience in our lives. It just shows up differently at work.
Flexibility and balance for employees = more time for self, family and loved ones
Fair and rewarding compensation for employees = the ability to comfortably pay for basic needs and fulfill their desires
Opportunities to grow for employees = to expand and grow professionally and personally
Connection, collaboration and partnership = opportunity to cultivate meaningful relationships with those we work with
New systems and software, unfortunately, won’t solve a few of these human needs mentioned.
The leadership struggles that have you wishing you can sleep easier at night will continue to be amplified with the impact 2020 had on businesses, changing the way we work and more importantly, how it changed us as individuals. It illuminated issues that are begging for your attention.
What might be keeping you up at night as a leader and has you thinking,
“How am I going to solve my employee performance issues?”
“How am I going to get my people to stay?”
“How am I going to get my employees to be more engaged at work?”
“How am I going to develop my future-leaders and invest in my people to support their learning?”
All of these fears can be solved by prioritizing the human needs that matter first and thankfully, as a leader, are in your full control to identify and solve.
What are some of the leadership struggles you’re facing this year? Do any of the above mentioned resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below!
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