The new reality has made us rethink many aspects of our lives and of course has changed the way we run our business, so today we are going to present three keys to leadership in the new reality, so that, as a leader, you can take your business on the right path that allows you to adapt to this new reality.
Surely you have heard that times of crisis bring opportunities and for many it is true, but the truth is that even if you see an opportunity for your venture, if you do not have good leadership, you will not be able to take advantage of it. In this post today, you will see some tips on how to be a good leader in this new reality.
The challenges of the new reality
Today, two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can still see the effects it had on business and work. Now, the war in Ukraine and the inflation that has affected the whole world seem to be problems that will not let us return to what we knew as normality.
For small businesses and startups, the pandemic and the consequent confinement did nothing more than set them a complicated survival challenge, a hard lesson that teaches us that companies must be prepared to make unforeseen changes.
Home working and digital transformation are two of the most important and drastic changes that companies had to adopt, many perhaps unprepared. Now two years later, the challenges remain. Covid-19 infections, although less dangerous, are still latent and this may result in several of your workers being quarantined or having to work from home, forcing the company to implement a hybrid way of working.
Inflation worldwide and the war in Ukraine has affected the production chains causing many companies to have difficulties in finding raw materials, even in your business you may already be experiencing a lack of supplies or price increases.
If you want you and your business to adapt to these new challenges, you must start by changing your leadership style. Undoubtedly, a good leader is a key piece for the success of any project and today more than ever a leader must be able to be strong, decisive and with a humanistic component.
1. Be an open and flexible leader
No matter what your leadership style is, in this new normal, adaptation is a necessity. This means that you will have to create quick solutions to problems that you may not have contemplated, but above all you will have to be flexible and open to new alternatives and new ways of solving.
One of the aspects in which you most need to demonstrate that you are a flexible leader is by loosening the chain of command. In the new normal, rigidity in work hierarchy or departmental assignments can be a problem, not an asset.
This rigidity can be even more counterproductive if your company has started or continues to work remotely or hybrid, as it only hinders the flow of information between departments.
Ensuring a more flexible environment for work between managers and employees can help you have employees who are more comfortable and willing to participate and empathize with each other’s work.
Crowdsourcing can be the best solution
Confinement forced us to look for solutions to new problems, and sometimes these solutions do not come precisely from managers, many times it is the employees themselves who can detect problems and they themselves could find the solutions.
So, a key to leadership for the new reality is crowdsourcing, i.e. open and distributed collaboration. Although crowdsourcing is a strategy that emerged to organize teams and tasks in a more open way, today some companies include the public in this strategy to solve problems or create new products.
During the pandemic, crowdsourcing proved that it can also be very helpful in meetings where creative and effective solutions need to be found.
In short, a leader who wants to do his job better in this new reality has to be open to suggestions coming from his team.
2. Promotes a constant learning cycle
Sometimes work teams are used to a synergy, and it is difficult to get out of it, because it is the one that has worked well for a long period, even making a change in it, no matter how small, can lead to complications and unfavorable results.
This used to work well once the company is well positioned and has reached an excellent level, however the new reality has shown us that even this type of companies has to make changes if they want to adapt.
Adapting to a new reality can be very complicated and costly, but as a leader your task is to help your team to do it better, for this the best you can do is to promote learning cycles.
The learning cycle tries to explain how an organization acquires or improves its knowledge and is formed in four stages that are repeated in the cycle: learning, focus, alignment and execution.
Learning: As in many other things, it is important to know what we are facing and what are our strengths and weaknesses, so the first phase is to make a thorough analysis of the realities of the company and its environment.
Focus: In this second step, we will use the insights from the first step to determine winning proposals and priorities. Determining the winning proposals is the basis for the rest of the cycle, because in short, it is what the company is going to improve or make different.
Alignment: in this phase is when all the elements and resources of the company will be aligned to meet the objectives of the winning proposal(s).
Execution: this stage consists of the implementation of the strategies. It is based on “learning by doing”, implementing the work plan to achieve the expected objectives, here it is important to monitor how the new plan works to learn from both successes and failures. This way we start again with the cycle.
Check every action
The success of creating new learning cycles does not depend on how many things you do well, it will depend on creating new learning that adapts to new challenges. That’s why we will need constant review of learning cycles to see if they are adapting to a changing reality.
These reviews will not be enough if we only measure production or sales numbers. Don’t get confused, of course these indicators help, but they are not the only thing, a good check must include the opinion of your work team, so consider doing feedback with your team periodically to get opinions that allow you to evaluate if the work is efficient or if new challenges are arising.
3. Lead with values
Specialists affirm that leading a company focusing exclusively on achieving objectives and goals can lead to productivity problems in the long run, as they wear down the work environment and tend to have low talent retention. The truth is that in the face of the challenges that the new reality implies, a new paradigm for running a business is needed, one that is equally focused on values and objectives.
Choosing a few words from a list of generic values that in the end only embellish your wording for the “mission and vision” that you will have to put on your website, is not exactly leading with values.
If you want to do it in a better way, it is best to start by doing an analysis of the values you want your company to represent, you can also include in the search the opinion of your employees and team leaders. Implement strategies that help your employees to implement these values and make them part of the company.
Ideally, create periodic reviews or audits to monitor whether the work continues to comply with these values or if they are sufficient to achieve a pleasant work environment.
The importance of resilience
Even though each leader will define the values necessary for his company, there are undoubtedly some values that are necessary in any company to face the new normality, we are referring to resilience.
Resilience is the ability to adapt positively to adverse situations. Leading with values strengthens this resilience in ethical organizations that are committed to contribute through their relationship with their environment.
Adopting a resilient attitude can help you improve results when things don’t go as planned.
The new normal and working from home has taught us that we need to reform our leadership style if we want our business to adapt. We could summarize the keys to achieve a new leadership in: be flexible, foresee and have resilience, would you add another characteristic for leaders in these times?