When you research What leadership skills are needed for 2023?, the list starts with relationship building followed by agility and adaptability, innovation and creativity, employee motivation….
Relationship building doesn’t tend to ever show up at the top of these lists but I truly believe it deserves to be here. Even more encouraging is when you dig a bit deeper into What leaders should focus on, and read that “In 2023 more than ever, leaders need to be less strategy experts and more human experts”. This reinforces all of our work on helping leaders build their human skills!
The world of leadership is changing but as long as organisations continue to focus on maximising productivity and efficiency as their top priority, how much room is there for relationship building? In fact, what does it matter how agile, adaptable, innovative, creative, or motivated the people in an organisation or team are, if they have no time nor space to act on these skills. If employees are so busy in the doing and not able to step off the treadmill to be curious, to collaborate, to try and fail in many ways, how can they drive innovation or adaptability?
Make friends, your sustainability depends on it.
This is where flexibility, diversity and a culture of safety and wellbeing create a strong environment for human skills to thrive. Do these elements ring a bell? Yes, we mentioned them last week as key factors female leaders consider important in choosing to stay or join a company.
Creating cultures and environments that retain, encourage and support women to thrive, and diversity in all its forms for that matter, this is what we should all be focussed on. Fostering an environment where competitive, hostile, busy all the time type behaviours are the opposite of the norm. Where catching up, brainstorming, collaborating, sharing and connecting are key cultural elements of high performance. A workplace that allows people to optimise their performance as leaders, because their heads and hearts are looked after, feel safe and feel motivated, incentivised.
When we focus on maximising performance we need to take into account performance from all angles, not just productivity, but the performance of leaders and their people as humans with head and heart. We need to go below the neck! Performance enhanced by a workplace were curiosity, humility and compassion, the three traits of connected leaders are the foundations.
The changing landscape of work is no longer just about hybrid or remote work. Female leaders are continuing to change the workplace for the better with a focus and ability to build relationships, to answer to the needs of individuals, to understand flexibility comes in diverse forms. The work landscape transformation is driven by people so leaders, women and men both, need to be tuned in and connected to lead it.