Perspectives on Effective Leadership in 2021 and Beyond

Perspectives on Effective Leadership in 2021 and Beyond

In an ever-changing business environment, strong leadership is essential to an organization’s survival and success. The competition is relentless and the threat of digital disruption looms large. Since 2000, half of Fortune 500 companies have breathed their last breath from not being digitally nimble.

As the world progresses, business leaders face challenges that didn’t seem like such a big deal even ten years ago. Here is a look at some key organizational issues worthy of your focus.

#1: Removing internal silos and increasing inter-departmental collaboration

Hyper-collaboration has entered the business lexicon and open office arrangements have become increasingly common. Yet, departmental silos remain in place, often to the detriment of companies seeking fast growth. Leaders face the challenge to break down these silos.

Redesigning the organizational structure is out of bounds for most organizations given how time-consuming and expensive it can be. Nurturing a silo mindset is a viable option. It involves promoting the idea that departments exist not to succeed as individual units but to serve other departments and to unify to move the organization forward. A concrete action would be to train people from different departments to engage effectively at interfaces. In this regard, new businesses can consider gaining useful guidance from a reputed provider of executive coaching in the District of Columbia.

#2: Remaining competitive in the war for talent

How successfully have you been able to attract the most talented and skilled employees to your company? In all industries, the war for talent is getting fiercer, and some businesses are at a disadvantage. Here’s why.

A lack of robust HR policies is proving problematic to recruitment efforts. To cite an example, not having a relocation package means you will miss out on a top-tier candidate. Outdated hiring practices are preventing companies from selecting the best candidates from the available talent pool. For example, a business may focus excessively on qualifications and not enough on 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity, and flexibility. Or the hiring manager may schedule one too many interviews that antagonize applicants. A good starting point would be to revisit your HR policies and procedures, and investigate your hiring practices along with outcomes like attrition rate, individual and team performance, rate of innovation, and financial performance.

#3: Driving growth and innovation

Businesses today acknowledge the need to act quickly on ideas and keep the wheels turning with idea generation. A maze of rules and micromanaging people is counterproductive to these priorities. Our experience delivering executive coaching in Maryland also finds that they exhaust both managers and the managed.

Giving people autonomy and ownership over their work, and accepting new ideas easily are crucial to empowering people. The extent to which these actions deliver outcomes will depend on the quality of your workforce. Hiring talented, motivated, and passionate individuals can help you hit the ground running on your growth and innovation goals. For example, as HR manager, you can make it a priority to hire people who not only fit the bill as far as skills and work history are concerned, but also share the same values as your organization.

#4: Serving multiple stakeholders

Why do businesses exist? Even fifty years ago, this question would have elicited the following answer from most organizations: to make a profit and serve stakeholders’ needs. In 1970, the well-known economist Milton Friedman famously said that companies had no duty to serve their employees or to benefit the world. He argued that their duty was solely to maximize profits and minimize costs so as to generate the most value.

Friendman’s views would be shot down today. Indeed, the legendary management Peter Drucker said that while profitability is an absolute for businesses, it isn’t the sole reason for a business to exist. According to Drucker, profits give businesses ‘energy’ by supporting the core functions of marketing and innovation, and provide capital for more jobs and better jobs. Today, business leaders would argue that they are duty-bound to multiple stakeholders, from shareholders and employees to customers and communities. Profits enable businesses to do something new or better.

How do you go about satisfying multiple stakeholders? A results-focused program relating to executive coaching in Maryland would guide companies to develop a plan for managing multiple stakeholders. Companies could first identify stakeholders, determine their interests, manage conflicts of interest, define outcomes, organize communication, and implement reporting methods.

#5: Making the most of employees’ talents

You have hired top-level candidates. How effectively you leverage their talents will ultimately decide whether your superstar hires contribute to your business goals. They must be sufficiently engaged to perform to expectations in their role and remain with your company for a few years at least to make a sizable difference to your growth and innovation goals. For this, aligning engagement, performance, and employee development is paramount. A possible strategy would be to:

  • Understand the strengths of your people and use them to improve outcomes
  • Establish an effective performance management and reward system
  • Provide developmental opportunities to help employees grow their skills, including running leadership training programs

Developing identifiable career paths is a key aspect of retention plans. A lack of career growth is one of the top reasons why people leave their company. Making career development for promising employees a top-of-mind issue can help you avoid the revolving door of talent.

#6: Getting blindsided by disruptors

Gazing into your crystal ball to correctly predict the medium to long term future of your industry hinges on your willingness to watch trends, competitors, emerging services, and the business ecosystem, on a continual basis. You will also want to ask ‘what’s new?’, ‘what’s next?’, and ‘where can we improve?’.

Hindsight is not an option in our fast-moving business landscape; there is an urgent need to understand and act, as any executive coaching Maryland professional would tell you. A comprehensive business strategy and effective change management initiatives are critical to not just survive disruption but also thrive in a changing business environment.

Self-reflect to stay motivated and build stronger teams

Self-reflection is touted as a beneficial leadership practice, and for good reason. To err is human; we all have our weaknesses and implicit biases that can come in the way of making the best possible decisions allowed in our position of authority and power. Asking yourself why you did what you did and why you aren’t doing something that has its merits, will help you better understand the leadership areas you need to work on, biases to overcome, and gain clarity on your core values. It will mold you into a well-rounded leader and help you get comfortable around improving your leadership abilities throughout your entire life.

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