2022 was a year of continuous personal and professional learning and growth. On a personal level, we learnt more about our values, goals, what we want from life, and what truly matters to us.
Professionally, we learnt more about ourselves as leaders, adapted to four-day working weeks, ascertained how a hybrid workplace could support the organisation, and how to support our people better.
As we welcome the new year and prepare for what may be in store in the ever-changing business landscape, it’s natural for us to reflect on what 2022 taught us and what the future of work looks like.
To support you, we’ve collated five actionable leadership lessons for 2023 that we believe will be especially useful.
1. Create Trust and Openness Through Transparency
First up in our leadership lessons for 2023 is trust. Trust is the backbone of all relationships – even working ones. Last year, the great resignation that we began to witness taught us that a breakdown in trust and relationships leads to higher staff turnover. Almost half of UK workers left their job because of this last year. Considering this, ask yourself if your people trust you.
When we cannot trust our leaders, communication reduces, performance diminishes, and work becomes unenjoyable. In the long run, a lack of trust in the workplace can impact retention and satisfaction, not to mention business goals and objectives.
Building trust can be easier said than done. But creating an environment where people feel comfortable being open and honest can support you in this. One way to do this is through transparency.
At its core, transparency means creating an environment where everyone can communicate openly without fear of judgement. It also means being open about goals, objectives, and expectations.
As you turn your thoughts to the future of work and 2023, consider how you can foster transparency in the workplace. Ask yourself how transparent you are, what greater levels of transparency may look like, and how much your people trust you. The answers to those questions will guide you through the year and support you in garnering greater trust amongst your people.
2. Embrace Change and Adaptability
If 2022 taught us anything, it was that change is inevitable. Of course, we already knew this, but the last few years have reinforced this.
In the workplace, we often think of change as a new stakeholder coming on board or internal changes to the workforce, but what about external change?
Embracing external change and adapting to the needs of your people can seem challenging. Pandemics, economic crises, and political changes that impact your people may seem out of your depth and even control. But as touched on in a previous blog, leading people through change is all in preparation and our willingness to adapt. Therefore, our ability and willingness to embrace change are critical.
When it comes to embracing change and adapting to the needs of your people, here are a few things to consider:
Encourage open communication in the workplace
Listen to your people and the changes they are experiencing
Address any concerns your people have
Support your people as best as you can through different approaches
3. Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Once classed as a ‘nice to have’, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are vital. Recent research has shown us the impact of not having a diverse workplace – job seekers are less likely to want to join the organisation, and top talent will not hesitate to quit their job to join organisations that value them regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, age, or religion.
Because of this, one of our leadership lessons for 2023 is that leaders must be proactive in ensuring that the workplace is diverse. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
Are there gaps in my diversity awareness?
How can I learn more about diversity in the workplace?
Is the workplace seen as diverse?
How can I support colleagues of similar and different backgrounds and experiences?
Do my people see me as a role model for diversity and inclusion?
What can I do to better myself as a leader?
In asking yourself these questions, you can begin to decipher what you can do this year to enhance your leadership and cultivate diversity and inclusion in your organisation.
4. Develop Empathetic Approaches to Leading People
As a leader, how often do you display empathy when your people talk to you about a challenge they’re facing, either inside or outside the workplace? Do you find it easy to understand how your people may feel? Are you able to resonate with them?
A lack of empathy in the workplace reduces trust and employees’ willingness to take risks. An American study found that employees believe empathy increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover. When considering the future of work, it’s clear that employees value empathetic leadership. Enhancing your skills in this area will support you in creating trust and openness in the workplace.
But how can you become a more empathetic leader? When developing empathetic approaches to leadership, it’s important to ask questions and truly listen. It’s equally as important to develop your self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
5. Welcome Hybrid Approaches
When COVID-19 struck in 2019, our lives changed overnight. We found ourselves working from home, communicating with our teams over Zoom, and adopting new approaches to ensure that our people could continue their roles.
After numerous lockdowns, 2022 saw us begin to emerge from the impact of the pandemic. Whilst some organisations returned to the office full-time, approximately 84% of employers continue to embrace a hybrid approach. According to People Management, this year will see two in five employers take advantage of hybrid working.
Though these figures assume that hybrid working is favoured by many, it hasn’t been welcomed by all. In 2022, we witnessed Elon Musk stating that remote and hybrid work was no longer accepted at Twitter and that employees must return to the office for 40 hours a week or be prepared to quit their roles. The result? A few hundred employees resigned.
So, what does this teach us about the future of work? Flexible and hybrid approaches are vital – not only to our business but to our people too. Without offering our people flexibility, we risk losing our top talent to organisations that value them and their time.
From welcoming hybrid approaches to creating trust in the workplace, these five leadership lessons for 2023 can support you in enhancing your skills and capabilities as a leader. They can also assist you in fostering better relationships with your people.
If enhancing your leadership skills is firmly on your agenda this year, our services can support you. From one-to-one coaching to leading with a coaching style, contact us today to book a no-obligation consultation with our director of coaching.