The word ‘unprecedented’ has probably been used, well, an unprecedented number of times over the past 2 years. But no other word can truly capture the unique, global and all-consuming impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on every aspect of our lives.
And although many of us are getting back into the office and a ‘new normal’, there is no denying that the pandemic will have lasting impacts on how businesses are managed and their leadership priorities. Our recent white paper identified a significant acceleration towards a more human leadership style and a greater focus on the wellbeing of staff. However, it also recognised that the biggest leadership challenges are still on the horizon, as we reimagine work rather than a return to normal.
Ultimately, the leaders of the future will need to be evolved and have different skills. Jacob Morgan, author of The Future Leader recently identified four key mentalities and five skills needed for future leaders. These highlight the need for future leaders to be tech-savvy, open and flexible to new ways of thinking, empathetic communicators and ‘servants’ – flipping the traditional hierarchy on its head and focusing on serving the company and its employees as a whole.
Another key theme which emerged in our white paper Leadership in the Pandemic was how much more attention will need to be placed on the purpose of the organisation and its wider societal role, as employees will, for a period at least, have options as to who they work for and why. Future leaders will need to think about these issues and make sure they understand and can communicate their organisation’s purpose and how they make a positive impact on the wider world. The pandemic left many questioning the bigger things in life and working for or with an organisation with real purpose is moving higher and higher up people’s priorities list. This will continue to grow in importance for both retaining employees and attracting new talent.
Given these challenges and a need for different types of leaders, many businesses will be asking themselves if they have the right leaders and importantly, if their succession plan is still fit for purpose. Leaders will likely need more support than ever before to navigate these challenges, especially after such a taxing and difficult period which has left many feeling burnt-out and lacking motivation.
Thinking about the leaders of the future is core to Merryck – we work very closely with organisations, equipping their emerging leaders for next-level challenges. We partner with organisations across the globe to design and execute innovative, cohort-based mentoring programmes for leaders, focused on driving impact from the individual participant level down to their teams and up through top leadership, enabling individual leadership development. We’re seeing this sort of support needed more than ever as organisations look to the future and continue to assess the long-term impacts of the pandemic on their business.