The irony of modern leadership – a human touch in a virtual world

The pandemic created an irony which felt particularly cruel – at a stressful and uncertain time you were prevented from physically seeing many of the people you loved most. From a business perspective this meant that when employees needed more empathetic and human leaders, this had to be delivered through a computer screen.

Thankfully, with restrictions lifting more and more people are getting back into the office and able to meet colleagues in person. However, we’re re-entering a world of work that looks very different. Our recent Leadership in the Pandemic white paper highlighted two key trends; the importance of a more ‘human’ touch when it comes to leading teams post-pandemic and that we’re not all returning to normality, rather a reimagined world of work.

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Post-pandemic exhaustion – how leaders deal with what’s next

As a result of the challenges brought about by working from home and various lockdowns, wellbeing became a mainstream management issue during the pandemic and this was one of the key trends identified in our recent white paper, Leadership in the Pandemic. Whilst a focus on wellbeing was certainly key for many leaders already, the pandemic really shone a light on the need for a wide-ranging approach to this issue.

This was important as everyone navigated unchartered waters throughout the pandemic and the accompanying emotions this created, including fear and anxiety. This increased focus on wellbeing will also be absolutely essential for businesses to navigate what we believe is coming next: a motivational crisis. As we explore in our report, after 18 months of lockdowns and personal freedoms stripped away it will be difficult for many to have the energy to beat the ‘blah’ and leaders need to think about how to re-engage and re-motivate burnt out workforces, not to mention the risk of burnt-out leaders and their need for support from their mentors.

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Leadership in the Pandemic

What has changed and what matters most in the post-pandemic world? The pandemic has changed leadership priorities – with a significant acceleration towards a more human leadership style and greater focus on the wellbeing of staff.

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Merryck & Co. announces new ownership and partnership

Earlier this year, Merryck & Co conducted a strategic review of its business and the growth opportunities going forward. It concluded its review with a decision to partner with MW&L Capital Partners (“MW&L”) and funds controlled and advised by MW&L have acquired the share capital of Merryck & Co.

As part of the partnership, Matthew Westerman, a Director of MW&L, will become Chair of Merryck & Co. and will work with Chris Beer, Operating Partner, Marjorie Kaplan, Head of Faculty and Sam Howes, Head of Operations.

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NHS: Leadership In A Crisis

A year ago today, the first period of national lockdown began in the UK which heralded the biggest challenge the NHS has faced in its history.

Merryck & Co was very proud to design and deliver a pro bono mentoring programme for a group of 40 NHS and Emergency Services leaders from Hampshire & Isle of Wight and Frimley Integrated Care Services. The goal was to support them under extremely high-pressure conditions and to provide space to reflect on key learnings and opportunities for positive change arising from the crisis caused by the pandemic.

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Merryck & Co. announces that mentor Dame Louise Makin has been appointed as the next Chair of Halma plc

LONDON – Merryck & Co., the global leadership firm are delighted to announce that Merryck mentor Dame Louise Makin has been appointed as the next Chair of Halma, the FTSE 100 global group of life-saving technology companies. Louise has joined the Halma Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director and will replace Paul Walker as Chair in July 2021, when he steps down from the Board after eight years.

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Adaptive Leadership Teams – Focus For 2021 and Beyond

The end of the year traditionally marks a time of reflection for leadership teams. Given the dramatic events of this year, it is even more important for teams to take forward what has worked and question – what do we stop, start, or would be even better if we did in 2021?

During such a demanding 12 months, which often directed focus onto the short-term and immediate challenges, it is a good time for leadership teams to strategically take stock, reflect, consider and set a plan for the future.

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Adaptive Leadership Teams – Fostering Agility and Innovation

Few leaders would dispute that, if businesses are to withstand disruption, it is imperative to harness innovation and agility. The events of 2020 have certainly demonstrated this with the organisations that adapted at a speed previously unthought of surviving or thriving at the expense of those who paused.

The disruption prompted different approaches to both leading and running a business. Merryck Mentor, Peter Hutchinson, found that many leaders were pleasantly surprised at how well their teams responded and adapted – “The crisis pulled people together. It led to a lot of multi-level team working and a significant move to non-hierarchical activity. People have now seen that this can deliver remarkable results fast.”

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Adaptive Leadership Teams – The Benefit of Cohesion and Engagement Within Leadership Teams

Many leaders would agree there’s nothing as good as a crisis to bring people together. Merryck have found that the teams we’ve spoken to have organically created a level of cohesion and engagement in 2020 but now need to build on this foundation with a renewed energy to enable them to adapt as a team with a future focus.

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Adaptive Leadership Teams – Renewed Clarity and Future Focus

Throughout 2020 we’ve seen leadership teams pull together decisively, at speed and with great focus. They have successfully implemented unprecedented levels of change and demonstrated immense agility.

From our discussions with leadership teams many feel the adrenaline-fuelled drive they unleashed at the start of the pandemic isn’t sustainable long-term. Merryck mentor, Peter Hutchinson, has observed that many leaders still have a huge number of commitments but are exhausted. “The breathless pace they face really shuts them off from doing the kind of deep thinking that opens up other possibilities. They’re [still] in this urgency and busyness addiction.”

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