Work and career are areas that are ever-evolving.
New ways of working emerge, skill sets and experiences change, and employee expectations shift. As a leader, it's important to understand where your priorities need to be and how you can position yourself to help your employees grow.
Focus on People
It has been said countless times that people are the most important piece of the organizational puzzle.
You can have the right processes in place and check all of the other boxes, but without a strong people foundation, organizational growth will be hard to come by.
An excellent quote to illustrate this point was stated by Sir Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.” So much is packed into this short sentence and is at the heart of what priorities a modern leader should have.
It Starts with Recruitment and Selection
You can’t build a proper team if you don’t have a structured plan for hiring. When openings occur, there is nothing worse than scrambling to fill the position and feeling like you are settling for whatever candidates were available at that moment.
As managers, you should always be recruiting and filling your Talent Bank with people who have the right talent and fit for your team and organization. This type of intentional hiring practice not only builds a strong team but attracts and retains talent. Fit goes both ways and a well-thought-out plan starts the right candidates off on the right foot.
Be the Champion for Your People
The world has demanded a lot of everyone these past few years and the constant pivoting is enough to give even the most agile among us whiplash!
Modern leaders need to understand what their team is going through and have conversations that not only show you care but that you want to be involved in their growth and development. Find out what motivates them, as well as where they get stuck along the way. When you truly know what makes them tick, you can lay out a development roadmap and help them achieve their goals and next steps.
Be sure that the organization is offering the right training options and if not, help them find ways to expand their skills and focus on their talents.
Although all employees need support, sometimes it’s the managers that report to you that may need that extra boost. Your direct reports that also manage people have a delicate balance of being on two teams at once. They are on your team, but they also lead their own team as well.
It's easy to fall into a transactional relationship with them and focus on the quantitative aspects of their jobs while failing to recognize that although they have reached a management level, they still want, need, and desire development and support. Don’t discount the importance of metrics but find a way to free up time to dedicate to the people side as well.
Embrace New Ways of Working and Communicating
In 2020, most of the world was thrust into remote work, which to many was a foreign concept. It was a challenge for many and created many new challenges both positive and negative. We learned that some positions really can be done remotely and that the flexibility created new opportunities for both employees and organizations.
As many employees return to the office and companies evaluate their plans for the future, it's important to embrace remote work when it is a viable option. In sales, remote selling has allowed account executives and managers to reach more prospects and customers.
Video calls, zoom-alongs, and remote sales pitches have created more and bigger opportunities that should not be overlooked. Sales reach, coupled with the ability to offer training across geographies and a more robust opportunity to collaborate with remote coworkers, strengthens bonds.
Some may still be skeptical of the idea of a remote hybrid workforce, but you as a leader have the opportunity to help others understand and move along the path to a new way of working and collaboration. It is important to be positive when people may struggle with new concepts and to promote a growth mindset. Fixed mindsets block our ability to learn, grow, and move forward but growth mindsets help us see what is possible when we embrace challenges and know that failure is an opportunity to fine-tune our approach for a better tomorrow.
The best way to accomplish these goals and keep these important priorities top of mind is to communicate with your people and others in the organization. Remote workplaces don’t necessarily need more communication, but most likely new ways of communication.
Several tools exist that bring even more connectivity than ever before: Slack, Teams Chat, and Yammer, just to name a few!
Everyone is overwhelmed with emails, but a more direct channel can help weed out the noise and keep teams connected. And regardless of geography, a leader should be communicating with their people. An involved leader who listens and creates a strong team who embraces change and builds a stronger tomorrow. Times may be uncertain, but communication can make it less intimidating.
Today’s leaders have the ability to move the team through the rocky times if they focus on the important priorities. People are your greatest asset – start with the right people, focus on them, champion their success, and keep everyone on the same page.
Success will follow!