The world changed a LOT in 2020. We’ve experienced a global pandemic that impacted every country and pretty much every person as well (unless you’ve been living under a rock). The ripple effects are continuing into 2021. Although, we are starting to see a shift in business. We have all digitalized ourselves and adapted to working virtually as much as possible, depending on your position and company. A high percentage of companies are no longer “on hold” and in “crisis mode” as they’ve come together to keep their businesses moving forward in these current circumstances. Of course, this does not necessarily apply to industries that have been the most harshly impacted such as travel, hotel, tourism, and restaurants to name a few. However, a new way of leading is emerging during these challenging times.
This is why I found it fascinating to come across some research from McKinsey & Co on how leadership shifted drastically last year. In the chart below, you will see the behaviors that are rising significantly and those that are falling in importance. There has been a seismic shift in leadership behaviors and it may not have even been noticed by most. Until now when it’s been quantified so clearly…
Behaviors that have been taught and reinforced in the business work are dropping a lot. Authoritative leadership has been on the decline for many years now but also dropping is promoting internal competition within teams.
In our book Engage!, we discussed the different mindsets between competitive and collaborative perspectives that highly-engaged companies seemed to share. Collaboration is the future of work on many levels and this is now become mainstream in leadership. It is the first of our 5 Cultural Keys model that we work with at Evoloshen.
We are also seeing a shift from being solely customer-centric to employee-centric. HCL Technologies has shown us that by putting employees first, they will take care of the customers and it’s a model that has been proven time and time again with amazing company cultures. Former CEO Vineet Nayar shared this idea in his bestselling book Employees First, Customers Second and how that transformed HCL at that time.
Being supportive and caring has risen 25 percentage points and being employee-focused is up 23 points! Promoting an open and trusting environment is up 15 points. Unfortunately, caring is not something that is taught in business schools. It may take some time for the educational system to catch up (it normally takes six years to change textbooks!). So leaders must learn on the job.
Caring is something that may have previously been perceived as being weak, something in common with being vulnerable. But what we are finding now is that when leaders show they truly care, and can be vulnerable, it makes them much more relatable and their employees feel more connected and therefore, builds trust and engagement.
Being connected is probably the thing we ALL miss most right now in these strange times. It is human nature to want to connect to others. We do this by showing we care. I’ve been working on a CARE model for leaders for some time now. Because building trust is actually a result from genuinely caring about others.
We need more connection and compassion in our world today. We need to understand each other. Accountability has always been valued in leadership and being authentic is proving to be a valuable trait as well. It’s important to give recognition and also to respect others. And it’s important to “walk the talk” by being engaged and enthusiastic for your own team as they will model their leader’s behaviors.
Caring has become vital for successful leaders to take their teams to the next level. That is the foundation to creating a high trust environment, reaching objectives, and creating a great culture that employees will thrive in long term!