Organizational change is as desirable as inevitable. 2020 and 2021 have been disruptive and evolutionary. What defined the changes over the last two years is the fact that this change is course-changing, pervasive (never before has change impacted almost all aspects of our life in such a dominant fashion), and exponential.
In times when change is as dramatic, leaders need to be able to adapt almost instantly, and play with a new set of rules.
Testing times call for courageous re-engineered leadership
Research shows that leaders themselves struggle with some of these issues in the face of constant change:
- Exhaustion and a feeling of despair, which makes it difficult to keep the fire in the belly alive and strong
- Fear and anxiety over an uncertain future, which extends from the workplace into the home space
- Attention spans oscillate between short-term activities, which currently seem to dominate their time, and the organisation’s long-term vision, making it difficult to focus
- Loneliness at the top – there are no peers at the top
- Disconnectedness with team members due to WFH. The lack of personal interaction makes it difficult to reconnect and re-engage purposefully and passionately, especially with a young team that operates with a completely different mind-set.
Re-engineer mindset to stay a great leader
A leadership with low energy often results in organisational drift, missed opportunities and other unaddressed threats. It may also result in an organisation losing its peak performing executives.
Re-energising leadership, which is oft ignored, is as important as re-energising teams. This ensures that everyone has the drive and energy to deal with the curve balls that life and the economy throw at them, both at home and the workplace.
Then there is the Indian patriarchal system, which often seeps into the workplace. The attitude of “I know it” or “I am at the top and therefore I am very good” keeps leaders from reinventing themselves. Behavioural issues such as arrogance and complacency build barriers with team members who hesitate to question leaders, even when they make ill-informed decisions.
Great leaders build a support system outside the organisation, which is objective, questions decision making without fear and keeps the leader grounded. Here are some best practises that successful leaders incorporate to stay on the top, especially in difficult times:
1. Step out of their comfort zone: This enables them to break traditional ways of thinking and explore solutions from a different lens.
2. Seek formal development options: Connects them with people outside the organisation. Helps them discover/learn new approaches, processes, and reshapes their thinking. Sometimes, this simply helps redefine the problem in a sharper manner
3. Learn new skills to build stronger connections with colleagues and peers: The age-old ways of communicating are becoming extinct. In the new normal, strong leaders learn from the young ones. New formats and new methods of connecting with people across generations are adopted.
4. Challenge themselves by setting tough/stretched targets: Nothing motivates a team more than a driven leader. Successful organisations build failure tolerance for teams. Managing fear of failure when stakes to succeed are phenomenal is more than culture and structure. It is organisational mind-set. Leaders who strive to become a better version of themselves in testing times, who are self-aware and are unafraid to embrace failure and willing to do something dramatic to break out of the rut, maintain their stature as great leaders.