Leadership styles must change in the post-COVID world

Like all good crises, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the very best in people. But it has also shone a light on some of shortcomings that continue to persist, in particular the archaic leadership styles that continue to plague many organisations.

Leadership styles and attitudes have not changed quickly enough to reflect the changes in our working/living practices. For many managers, an employee’s productivity is still only measured by the amount of time they spend in the office.

But this isn't the case in every company. Those companies that had invested in digital transformation and home working before the pandemic were less jolted by the lockdowns. They didn't just have the right tools and IT infrastructure in place, they already had the right culture around home working too. What can we learn from those organisations?

Trust, not micro management: Trust goes a long way to motivating employees. Accountability? Yes. Remote monitoring? No.

Empowerment of the workforce: There is nothing empowering about a hierarchy unless you’re the one at the top, so look for ways to reduce hierarchy wherever you can.

Focus on output, not hours worked: Victorian-era metrics have no place in a modern enterprise. Staff should be measured (and remunerated) on their value to the organisation, and nothing else. · Wellbeing “activities” need to be scheduled in: It is critical for managers to find the time for non-work conversations with their employees, whether that be something that is scheduled in formerly or simply an addendum to other activities, it needs to be a more conscious effort.

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