We need a new view of leadership

Photo of a hand encircling the sunTo succeed in today’s pandemic and (hopefully soon) post-pandemic environment, companies must address the human side of work and leadership.

They must acknowledge the need for people to enjoy what they do, to have a sense that they’re accomplishing something worthwhile, and to feel that their leaders understand that work is part of life, not separate from it.

They need to recognize that work can and should be more fun – and that when it is more fun, the business is more successful. And that leaders have the most impact on making work fun – or not. (See Point #1 on my Manifesto.)

People aren’t born knowing how to be leaders, any more than they’re born knowing how to communicate, write code, or parse P&L statements. We may have a talent for speaking clearly, or for logic and the intricacies of software development, or for numbers and finance – or for how to connect, motivate, and inspire employees. But talent isn’t enough. Talent requires development in order to become an actual skill.

Whether you, as an individual leader, embark on a self-guided process of leadership study, or you engage with mentors, or you simply muddle along (as so many do!), you’re always learning something.

What leadership habits are you developing? Are they serving you, or holding you back? What would the people on your team say? Your peers? Your manager? Your family, friends, and community? (Because leadership is never limited only to the role you play at work. Nor is it something that only happens when you have an official title.)

And what is your company doing? I’ve heard from clients that their budget for Emerging Leaders programs has been cut back or eliminated entirely, which I think is – frankly – a big mistake. We need effective, forward-thinking leadership now more than ever; this is a time to invest in leadership development, not cut back!

It's time to think about leadership differently, and develop the skills for forward-thinking, empathic, strong leaders ... who can also make work more FUN!Click To Tweet

As individuals and as companies, it’s clear we need to be thinking about leadership in different ways than before. And that’s a fabulous opportunity – an opportunity to recognize that leadership is a way of being, not a set of rules to follow, and that learning the skills of effective, empathic, strong leadership is something we can all benefit from, individuals and companies alike.

Not having a budget does NOT mean you can’t develop skills, either individually or within your organization. Here’s an article on Leadership Development during the pandemic (without a budget) – and here’s my YouTube video on the same topic.

I mentioned that leadership isn’t limited to work or to a specific role or title. So what IS leadership, anyway?.