March 5, 2022

Leadership Is Becoming An Employee-Centric Mindset

March 5, 2022

It used to be you could walk into a room full of workers and quickly identify the boss.

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The person standing at the front of the room or handing out orders with all eyes on them. Those days are gone. The new image of leadership is vastly changing. A leader is no longer the person commanding attention when speaking boisterously handing out directives with an authoritative voice.

These days the role of leadership is not always visible by a significant job title or by wearing fancy attire.

The tide of conducting business is changing rapidly since most office staff are now finding themselves working remotely. Business must find alternative methods to keep in step and moving forward in these competitive markets to avoid closing-up shop. Leadership styles have been transitioning over the decade but now are progressively moving at a much sharper pace during the pandemic. Ultimately, companies need to adapt to more unconventional styles to keep their valued employees by avoiding the pitfalls of previous ways of doing business.

The world is transforming new business practices and leaders need to adjust.

The conference rooms that were once full are now sitting vacant and teleconferencing has become a new standard of business communication. Our inboxes are full of countless emails because we are relying on written communications now more than ever as well. How are innovative leaders adapting?

The new-age leader needs to be agile in their approach to leadership. It's no longer commanding the current space; it's more about shifting to an enlightened mindset.

Study after study demonstrates a need to connect with employees. Engagement is the order of the day. It has been that standard for companies to coach, incentivize, pressure, or just plain cheerlead team members into compliance, which is increasingly proving an ineffective means of motivating. More than ever workers need to feel that what they are doing makes a difference. An effective leader will know when to lead but will also know when to pull back and be led through their team of experts. It is about gaining buy-in from the company's greatest and most valuable asset, their human capital. Managers and supervisors have the day-to-day contact needed to maintain employee engagement. It is essential that these frontline managers possess the skills needed to foster autonomy in this burgeoning remote workforce.

In some ways, this "work-from-home" model has compelled companies to move in a direction that emphasizes focus on human capital. The silver lining of our predicament is that some work adjustment shave naturally favored trends that employees have desired for some time; such as flexible work schedules, working from home, a sharp reduction in meetings, and the autonomy to organize workflow i.e., no micro-managing. For work to continue, projects to be completed, and business to move forward companies needed to develop ways to manage remotely. The leaders can follow these three tips:

1.  Breaking the fourth wall – A leader needs to connect with their audience when communicating. For example, "You are important in promoting change in the company". This form of communication makes the team member feel the speaker is directly relating to them.

2.  Guided Imagery – Is known to be effective at promoting positive change. This is a powerful tool that challenges employees to envision the reality, solution, or vision that a leader has for the company. For example, "Image how our growth would explode if we produced a better widget?"

3.  Protecting Autonomy – It's giving the employee the reigns to cultivate their own method. This gives an employee a feeling that they are part of the solution, which ultimately produces buy-in and ownership from the employee. For example, "I'm interested in your ideas of how we can improve the widget".

Miraculous things begin to happen when leaders challenge their employees to use their creativity, passion, and talent. Leaders are seeing more productivity, loyalty, and retention from their human capital when these strategies are used. There are major benefits for leaders to begin shifting towards an employee-centric mindset as companies seek ways to stay innovative to survive during these unprecedented times.

Paul & Shell Phelps, Co-Founders of Phelps Strategies, LLC