New leadership challenges corporate leaders face in 2022
The last two years have thrown many challenges, one of which is the way we lead.
The pandemic has put extraordinary pressure and demand on leaders - managing teams and keeping up productivity remotely during unpredictable, uncertain, and unprecedented circumstances is something that not many leaders have been skilled for.
Top 6 leadership challenges to watch out:
Without being conclusive on the topic, here are a few adaptive challenges that corporate leaders and their team members have raised during my conversations since the global pandemic started:
Workload and efficiency
Isolation and engagement
Rapidly changing environment
The art of listening, not just to those more senior in an organisation, but to internal and cross matrix teams, has never been brought to the fore like it has today. As we work remotely and do not have the typical day-to-day connection points, which often allow us to feel the pulse of an organisation and industry, we now have to encourage and adapt communication during this time of the ‘New Normal’.
The days of closing an office door or an informal chat as we walk to a meeting/café are almost non-existent. These informal mediums are essential as team members feel more relaxed and can open up about issues or seek guidance without formally requesting information through an email or online team call.
Even working one or two days a week in the office means these opportunities are much fewer than before, which can cause havoc for individuals, teams, and leaders.
2. Workload and efficiency.
Workload shared among a team is where a manager decides which members are better suited for each task. This is harder to do in our current environment, and we need to develop leadership skills to adapt to this challenge. Knowing how an employee is coping with the workload is particularly challenging. No one wants to look like they are struggling, and no one wants to appear as they can’t do their job unsupervised.
A perpetual leadership challenge is allocating workload, and now is the time to look closer into this. This does not mean micromanaging teams but instead asking individuals for task completion estimates and managing your expectations as a leader/manager. Later, revisiting them with the employee will help align when a person needs assistance or support.
3. Isolation and engagement.
Keeping the team engaged both on an individual, and team level was one of the first leadership issuesmentioned in the early days of working from home, and it keeps coming up in my conversations still. Without face-to-face interaction in the office environment, it has been hard for managers to understand the right balance between giving the right amount of support and being perceived as micromanaging.
Encouraging people to open up to colleagues to bounce ideas is something they can usually work out themselves, but formally asking team members to do this by grouping or pairing them will take it to another level and ensure that no one is being left entirely alone. This will pay dividends for the individuals and the company as better output will be achieved.
Since this pandemic started, we have been practising this at Parity with two consultants working in teams on each role. We saw the benefits of shorter turnaround, motivation, spirit at work, and overall productivity. Be mindful of the dynamics of the individuals, though, when asking for this, and check in occasionally to understand progress.
4. Rapidly changing environment.
The global crisis has brought rapid and constant changes and we have seen situations change by the day or even by the hour. We are adapting to many changes so fast on both individual and corporate levels - changes that affect our work, personal and family life, well-being and health.
These changes are coming from every direction, government, health authorities, workplace, and community. It is the role of leaders to manage these changes, making sure that their team is supported, flexible, and up to date with new technologies. Reskilling and upskilling employees can also help to adapt to the changing environment.
5. Developing Employees
There are a number of reasons why developing employees is the leadership challenge of 2022.
In order to stay competitive, organisations need to upskill and reskill their employees continually. This means that leaders need to be dedicated to investing in employee development, both in terms of formal training and educational programmes as well as more informal learning opportunities.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic had had a significant impact on the workplace. Many organisations have had to implement remote working arrangements, making it more challenging to provide adequate support and development opportunities for employees. Additionally, fluctuating economic conditions mean that budgets for employee development may be tight.
6. Managing Stakeholders
The role of a stakeholder is constantly evolving. In the past, stakeholders were typically limited to those with a financial interest in the company. Today, however, stakeholders can include anyone who has an interest in or impact on the company - from customers and employees to suppliers and communities.
As a result, successful leaders must be able to navigate an increasingly complex web of relationships and identify potential risks and opportunities early on. They must also be skilled at communicating effectively with all stakeholders, building trust, and fostering transparency.
Ultimately, it will be up to leaders to ensure that all voices are heard, and that company decisions reflect the best interest of all stakeholders.
All these abrupt adaptive challenges and uncertainty have required us all to be supportive of one another, step up in our roles, and be more flexible and resilient.
With all the “social” distancing (that really is physical), we have been building more adaptive teams, encouraging more connections, and looking out for each other. We have successfully navigated to where we are, so let’s ensure the journey improves as we build on what we have learned!
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Agnes Villanyi is a Senior Consultant at Parity Consulting – Specialising in Product Management and Product Development roles across Asset and Wealth Management. An avid ice skater, experimental Italian cook, and trained personal stylist, Agnes is passionate about identifying great talentS and helping them achieve their ambitions and progress their careers in Products.
For a confidential discussion about opportunities in Product Management and Product Development in 2020, contact Agnes Villanyi at +61 405 395 021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.