There’s no doubt about it, the world has changed. Covid-19 has caused a seismic shift in how we all work, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll ever return to pre-COVID workplace normality.
The new normal is here to stay; whether through choice (just 13% of working parents want to go back to pre-pandemic ways of working ) or through force (with ongoing local lockdowns and a second wave approaching), we need to adapt and critically, so do our business leaders.
New demands for leaders
Many HR Directors attending our virtual roundtables throughout lockdown remarked on the different demands this ‘new normal’ places on leaders. For instance, widespread remote working has proved problematic for leaders with a command-and-control style, whereas those who developed a value-based approach to leadership have thrived. The broader social context has also shifted, with the shocking death of George Floyd and broader Black Lives Matter movement drawing much-needed attention to the fact that racism still exists and is affecting people throughout our organisations. As we discussed in our recent webinar, if you’re looking to make a real difference to diversity and inclusion within your organisation, you need to change how people lead. Diversity and inclusion can’t be an initiative, it needs to become intrinsic to how people lead.
The world has changed, have your leaders?
HR have a critical role in getting businesses back on track. Virtually all HR leaders right now are undertaking an urgent review of their critical talent populations to determine: Do we have the right leaders, with the right capabilities, to take our business where it needs to go now?
Our data indicates that even before lockdown, almost a third of organisations were unsure that their leaders have the skills required to achieve their current business strategy. Now that most business strategies have had to be torn up and reformulated, that level of uncertainty is at an all-time high. Given that effective leadership will be a key differentiator between the organisations that survive Covid-19 and those that don’t, it’s HR’s responsibility to provide certainty around this. But how?
With effective leadership increasingly being the differentiating factor between business success and failure, HR leaders must provide confidence and clarity around the leadership and critical talent requirements for their business. In doing this, not only can you minimise risk, disruption and wasted opportunity costs in appointing or promoting the wrong person, but also strengthen business performance by accelerating the development of the necessary capabilities to take the business forward, through what will inevitably be choppy waters.