20th – 24th March is International Leadership week #ILW23, and it’s a great opportunity for you to focus your mind on what it means to be an effective leader, and how you can support leaders in your organisation. This International Leadership Week is about uniting a global community of people who are passionate about raising the standards of leadership practice for themselves and others, and this week’s promotion is an opportunity to explore what leadership is and how you can improve your capability.
Great leadership has never been as important as it is now with the continuing challenges of:
- – managing a remote working team,
- – recruitment challenges,
- – generational expectations of protecting the planet,
- – toxic workplace environments
- – the cost-of-living crisis,
- – and agile leadership.
Managing A Remote Team
One of the biggest challenges for leadership in recent years has been the move to remote or hybrid working. Be clear on your expectations of your team, e.g., the format and timing of meetings such as allowing sufficient gaps for down time from being online, establishing daily check-ins and providing tools to allow teams to collaborate effectively. This will help to keep your employees engaged and support their mental health. You can also establish rules of engagement such as, “We use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when something is urgent.” Be flexible as everyone has a different home environment. Some may have a private home office, whilst others may be working in their bedroom, and others may be experiencing challenges in their relationships. As a leader it’s important to understand the unique circumstances of each employee and demonstrate empathy. 
There has long been an assumed link between the quality of leadership a company has and its ability to attract and retain great people. We can all name bad ‘leaders’ and have had experience of working for one of them. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the subsequent severe handling of the layoffs may not have inspired trust and confidence in his new leadership.  And subsequently this may affect the company’s ability to hire.
To support you as an employer and hire good people, identify the qualities you need in a leader. According to Ian Cameron, the Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute you should define the personality and behavioural traits that will equip your leaders for success, use effective interviewing techniques and customize your development plans to build on the natural strengths you know you need.
Going forward as leaders, we must have a constant desire to learn, and this means learning from our younger generation and listening to our people. Younger people who are coming into the workforce such as the ‘Greta Thunberg generation’ want to make a difference. According to Erik Meijer, now that people are returning to the office in whatever form that might look like, we have seen a change in mindset from employees and they want to make an impact based on their ethical positions. It is vital for organisations to demonstrate in the way they are led, by promoting inclusivity, how an organisation and its activities affect the planet’s resources.
Toxic Working Environments
The dangers of a dysfunctional toxic working environment can lead to quiet quitting. Recognising the individuals who were previously engaged and are now silent and withdrawn may be a signal that something is wrong in the workplace.
In our recent blog on bullying, we highlighted how disruptive and damaging bullying can be in the workplace.
A BBC article on quiet quitting has suggested that this has been growing and can be the product of poor leadership. Individuals who fail to receive reward and recognition for working over and above, or feel belittled or silenced by others, may suddenly only adhere to their job description and not go the ‘extra mile’. Ultimately, they could leave and as a leader it’s up to you to spot these changes. By regularly communicating with your teams and employees you can identify what might be going wrong and remedy it before it’s too late. 
Cost of Living Crisis
The ramifications of the cost-of-living crisis are also seen in the workplace. Leaders are witnessing increased stress among their people, not to mention reduced engagement and higher absences. You can support your teams by providing additional support. Some tips include:
- – Embracing flexibility and offer flexible working arrangements.
- – Reviewing your employee benefits and identifying how many of those can be shared with their partners.
- – Communicating frequently and aim to better understand your employees’ needs.
- – Providing additional training and development. Research shows that this can increase employee engagement as it enables people to expand their current skills, and, more importantly, can contribute to enhanced happiness and satisfaction. 
Leadership plays a critical role in building an agile organisation. Agile leaders set the overall tone, build the culture, and provide direction for the teams. Agile leaders tend to be able to:
- – set goals and objectives aligned to the organisation’s mission.
- – be collaborative and value strong relationships with their team members.
- – foster an environment of trust and respect by enabling the team to work together effectively.
- – be flexible and have an adaptable mindset,
- – be dedicated to consistently learning and improving themselves.
Agility in leadership is an important skill for successful organisations and critical to address the number of challenges businesses are facing.
These are just some ideas that are useful for improving leadership skills in your organisation, but if you need more support on leadership and getting the best out of your leaders in your organisation, please get in touch for a chat. We would love to help.
Albany HR your outsourced HR Partner, has a team with over 50 years’ combined experience. We help you succeed through your people and can assist in all areas of HR including:
- People Strategy
- Leadership coaching
- HR Audits
- Recognition & Reward
- Employee Wellbeing
Get in touch to discuss if our services can support you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for a chat – 0131 364 4186.