If the last couple of years has taught us nothing else, they have taught us that things can change at a moment’s notice in our lives, our businesses, our health, and our customers. You need to ask yourself, are you ready as a leader? Are you prepared?
Because the only guarantee you have, the only thing you can count on is that more change is coming. You are now halfway through 2022, and look how much has shifted. We have war in Europe, rising interest rates, gas prices surging, supply chain challenges worsening, and oh yes, COVID is still with us.
As a leader, your role is more vital, more important than ever. Your customers need you, your company needs you, and your team needs you to help them navigate it. Your organization’s best shot at success and long-term growth is to get really comfortable and really good at leading through uncertainty.
Here are five leadership trends you need to watch and the five strategies you need to implement to capitalize on them.
5 Leadership Trends You Need to Capitalize on Now
1. Assertive Hiring – you would have to be living on a deserted island right now not to have felt the impact of the Great Resignation. In 2021, more than 41 million employees voluntarily left their jobs. Even though many have found new opportunities, Gallup recently reported that one in five is already searching for their next role.
Hiring is one of the biggest shifts you need to be paying attention to as a leader. How to find talent, develop talent and retain talent has all changed. Luckily for you, the strategy you need to put into place has already been created. Look to your sales team. Pay attention to how they win new customers. Learn from their target market, pipeline, prospecting techniques, nurturing sequences, time invested in relationship building, and most of all, how assertive they are.
Use those same strategies in your approach to hiring talent, and you are going to win this war.
2. Change Engagement – think about it; a year ago, COVID was your biggest challenge, and now you have so much more uncertainty to deal with. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, your one guarantee in life is that more change is coming. Your job as a leader is to move your team from fearing it to embracing it.
People hate change for a number of reasons, but the biggest and most significant is that they hate it because it feels like change is being done to them. They’re sitting there waiting for the marketplace to change, their companies to change, and their lives to change, and wondering when it will hit and how bad it will be. In other words, they feel out of control.
As a leader, you have the ability to change all of that – no pun intended. You can engage them in the change process, give them some control over what is happening, and actually condition your team for change.
As a leader, the more you talk about change, the more you discuss change, the more you ask your team what changes they see coming, ask them what they as a team need to do now to get ready, and the more empowered they will be by change. Stop thinking of it as change management, and think of it as change engagement.
3. Values Driven – One of your biggest challenges as a leader is making decisions when you have no idea what the future holds. How do you make a decision when there is so much uncertainty? What happens in the supply chain does not improve? What if you cannot find enough labor? How will gas prices and rising inflation impact your customers?
There is actually more happening outside of your company than inside it that can impact your ability to be successful, and you need a way to make decisions that will ensure you can strongly navigate those shifts.
The answer? Your values – they are your guiding light, your north star, and your clear direction of how to make decisions in the face of even the greatest challenges. Once you are clear on your core values, you need to use them like a litmus test for every decision you need to make. Decisions such as who you hire, projects you take on, customers you work with, and most importantly, leaders you promote. Trust your values, and they will carry you through.
4. Customer Centric – contrary to popular belief, an unsteady economy is one of the best times for growth and prosperity. It is not the time to pull back; it is actually the time to be coming on. In the face of uncertainty, your customers need you more than ever.
How you grow in changing economic times differs from how you grow in more steady times. Rather than focusing on attracting new business, focus on understanding your customers because you cannot attract new business until you understand your customers’ problems or challenges.
Your key to growth lies in listening to your customers. If you engage them, talk with them and become customer-centric, they will tell you exactly what their challenges are. The problems they are facing will give you the path to growth and success.
5. Proactive Productivity – as we shared earlier in this article, there is more happening outside of your business than inside your business that can impact your ability to be successful. This is no time to pride yourself on being busy; no, you need to be productive, and you and your team need to understand the difference.
Spend the time reflecting on the team’s performance and engage them in the process. Ask them what is working, what is growing the business, and what is effective? Then ask, what is not working, what needs to change, and what do you need to stop doing? And lastly, what do you need to be doing that you’re not doing that could make you more effective? To succeed in uncertainty, you must take charge and be proactively productive.
These are definitely challenging times, and your role as a leader has become so much more significant. Your team needs you, your customers need you, and your company needs you. Follow these trends, put the strategies in place, and then watch as all of this uncertainty becomes your competitive advantage.