Organisations saw a year full of unexpected challenges in 2022 and in light of the odds, showed resilience, innovation and invested in their teams. As we enter 2023, we’re looking ahead at the leadership trends you’ll want to be thinking about.
Let’s jump straight in!
1. Managing Hybrid Leadership
One of the largest workplace changes in 2022 was the adoption of remote work on a wider scale. While people have been working remotely for years, it seemed that almost overnight companies across the globe were adopting it en masse.
56% of companies now offer remote work or are completely remote. This is a big jump from pre-Covid 19 figures that showed only 5.4% of European employees worked from home. For leaders, this presents a unique challenge in how teams are managed online, in the office or a combination of both.
The hybrid work model is attracting employees for lots of reasons. And not just to save on the commute or avoid traffic (although we fully empathise with that!). No, there are purported benefits to splitting your work pattern between the office and home and for many, it allows them to enjoy the nest of both worlds.
Since many of us were stuck at home for a while with our families (or ourselves) there’s been a lot of chatter about work-life balance and how to get it. Hybrid work offers a solution to this with flexible schedules and breaks in the working day to run errands or make time for personal development. 87% of people welcomed more flexibility from their employers.
Some reports state that working from home increases productivity, as employees have the flexibility to work when it suits them or when they’re feeling energetic. It’s also linked to improved physical health and less procrastination (how long do we spend thinking about a task rather than actually doing the task???).
For 2023, this means leaders will need to think about how hybrid work models can be balanced effectively. How they can engage teams whether at home or in the office, and how they can maintain a sense of workplace culture and social norms. Merging the business’s needs and those of the employees requires new approaches to management that highlight core leadership traits like communication, emotional intelligence and organisational skills.
2. Fostering Growth Mindsets
More than three decades ago, Carol Dweck and her contemporaries coined the term, Growth Mindset. In simple terms, a growth mindset is a process for how you respond to difficulties in both your personal and professional life.
In the workplace, we all face challenges that provoke emotional and logical responses, some healthier than others and this is where having a growth mindset can work wonders for how you interpret these scenarios.
People with a fixed mindset tend to:
- Avoid failure or the possibility of failure
- Believe they are unable to change or learn new things
- Conceal parts of themselves to avoid judgement
- Don’t take criticism well and make it personal
- Stay in their comfort zone
- Struggle to accept other people’s opinions
Whereas people with a growth mindset tend to:
- See failures as an opportunity to learn from mistakes
- Seek out challenges that move them out of their comfort zone
- Welcome constructive feedback
- Believe they can learn new things and be open to new ideas
- Are interested in getting well-rounded opinions from peers
- Want to improve themselves through personal development
As leaders, a growth mindset is a powerful tool to help bring teams together and lead them to success. With so many market changes that require them to pivot or adapt quickly, we’ll see employers seeking individuals who possess growth mindsets to push them forward.
3. Investing in Leadership Development
Further to the last point, companies are fully aware of how complex and demanding modern markets are to navigate. Technological advances and industries shift at a blistering pace and they need knowledgeable and capable leaders to helm the ship. This is where leadership development comes in.
Creating learning systems and investing in leadership development are essential for learning new skills and improving organisations. It also helps reduce attrition, as employees feel more valued and confident in their roles they’re deterred from looking elsewhere for training or career advancement.
4. Welcoming the Next Generation
By 2025, Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) will account for 27% of the workforce. With each generation comes a set of plights and causes that in some sense define them. For Gen Zers, there are perhaps more expectations than those that came before. They want more diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They want companies to show transparency and weigh in on ethical issues. They champion sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices. And want a greater work-life balance with more flexibility and better mental health services.
It might seem like a laundry list of unreasonable demands but the fact of the matter is, these are the issues that have been brushed aside for decades and we’re now reaping that neglect. Companies and brands that embrace these values stand a much better chance of ushering in a new, happy and more motivated generation of workers.
5. Focusing on Mental Health and Wellbeing
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, a staggering 12 billion working days are lost each year due to depression and anxiety, at a cost of $1 trillion in loss of productivity.
Much of “The Great Resignation” can be attributed to burnout, stress and fear of job security which saw record numbers of staff turnover and an overall decline in mental health. So what can be done? Businesses will need to invest in training for managers to better understand the mental health challenges in the workplace, they need to offer services to alleviate stress and foster an environment of transparency and empathy.
6. Servant Leadership
If you’ve managed teams for a while you will have come across the various leadership styles and their attributes. It’s not so much that one style is better than another as really it depends on the situation, team and organisational structure but one particular style does seem to align its values with the expectations of modern workforces.
We’re talking about servant leadership. This leadership style flips the traditional hierarchy on its head by placing employee wellness and satisfaction at the top of the funnel rather than the bottom. Empathy, active listening, communication, self-awareness, emotional intelligence and community, are all hallmarks of servant leadership. These traits are being brought to the forefront of business leadership more every day.
These are the 6 leadership trends we expect to see organisations focusing on in the coming year. It’s never too early to prepare your teams for the challenges to come and we wish you the very best of luck in 2023!