Crazy, but that’s how it goes,” according to Ozzy Osbourne in his song Crazy Train. Do we simply accept we are on a crazy train (and about to go on a crazier one) and just go with the flow?
During P2’s webinar on the topic of “what will the leader of 2022 face” our expert panelists explored key leadership pressure points, looking back at 2021 and forward in time to 2022, to make sense of the craziness.
Panelists toyed with ideas to develop next-generation leaders but recognized a number of resistance areas from those people, in particular employees thinking “do I really want to get on the corporate treadmill?”
Couple this dilemma with a need to develop existing leaders and attract/retain leaders; suddenly a few more balls are in the air. To avoid dropping the lot, Senior Leaders may start thinking about a compelling organizational purpose and meaningful work to keep people engaged and on track. Traditionally business priorities naturally rose to the top of the agenda, and learning and development needs dropped down in equal measure, however, this is changing, and putting a focus back on all leaders and employees, their mental and physical health needs, will be key in 2022.
From these tensions between challenging workloads, thought loads, and energy levels in general it is easy to see how ideas around implementing real-time learning, or action learning, can begin to gain favor. Learning while in the moment, while a real-life project is taking shape, can create higher engagement, more energy, and better outcomes as ideas are explored “on the move”, and less time is spent in classroom-style learning. The playground, in the business or even better with our clients, is always more appealing!
This inevitably tracks forward to the requirement of re-skilling and future-skilling leaders for the work and challenges ahead. The future of work will involve a hybrid world, that seems certain. Leaders will need the skills to onboard, engage, and retain their teams. Their challenge is to create a great culture, a great team, whilst having in some cases limited ability to meet in person or ever meet that person in some extreme cases. The hybrid world and the virtual elements of that world will be the norm and leadership styles will have to adapt.
But, and it is a big but, this will bring concerns around fatigue and disengagement. CEOs will face mounting issues surrounding leadership burnout. Because of limited face-to-face time and virtual working, burnout will amplify and pressures will build as lines between work and home life blur into one. Some will thrive (more time at home). Some will struggle (no cut-off point at work).
Companies are preparing to mitigate against these outcomes; ideas such as running regular check-ins, giving people a chance to share their stories to the rest of the team, mandating time-outs to recharge are just a few that we can mention. Organizations need to start abiding are by new rules to build resilience and self-compassion in their people and not view self-care as an indulgence. Self-care benefits the organization as well as the individual. Thinking about how we communicate will be important; switching off the camera while on Zoom could help to focus on a voice and not get overwhelmed by analyzing multiple facial expressions on screen for that all-important buying signal.
Whatever the outcome, it will be critical for leaders to stop all the clocks, refresh, sleep and return to their desks (wherever and whenever that may be) revitalized, refreshed, and refocused with a new set of rules in play.
Because discussions have started so early to prepare for the crazier train of 2022, and we have learned so much in the past year, the journey ahead may be much smoother than we all dared hope for…
Listen to the full discussion here below: