As we have navigated over the last 19 months, we have found ourselves and our teams building resiliency with our everchanging environment. I think many leaders, especially executives, felt our work lives would be “back to normal” starting this fall. Well, this has not panned out quite the way we expected as variants have taken over and we are experiencing yet another surge in cases and hospitalizations. Optimism has faded as we are struggling with finding a “new normal.”
With any challenge, there is always opportunity. I believe we are in a great reimagining of what and how work can be done. Let’s face it, the way we’ve been working has its roots in the Industrial Age mentality, so I think we were due for a refresh. Leaders have an opportunity to provide a more humanistic approach to our employees and engage at a level that is much more meaningful and deeper. A current Gallup poll found that 48% of employees are actively looking for new opportunities outside of their organization. Turnover is at an all-time high and is a huge disruption to our organizations and teams. Something needs to change, and leaders are at the forefront of this shift in the workforce.
How do leaders create an engaging environment for their team so they want to stay with their current organizations? First is thinking about our team as individuals and connect with them on how they value the work they do and identify with the purpose of the organization. Many workers had time to think about what is really important to them and they are expecting more flexibility and more quality time outside of work. I’ve noticed in the US we have a live to work mentality. When I lived abroad, it was different. Employees didn’t give every ounce of life they had to their employer. They had a more work to live mentality. In the research that is coming out, I am noticing a shift in mindset and attitude towards work that is more in line with the work to live mind space. Wellbeing and mental health are being re-examined and more of an emphasis is taking place in these areas. I think this shift is good and healthy. The more leaders focus on overall health of our employees, the better off our organizations will be. This is tied to our ability for empathy and caring for our team as individuals. As leaders, we need to build an environment that is inclusive and seen as fair for all teammates in ways that are meaningful to all.
As leaders, we also need to be adaptable to our changing situations on a daily and weekly basis. This ties back to our comfort with change and many of us have proven we can adapt when needed. Our attitudes towards change have evolved over the pandemic. Not to say we are perfect with it every day, but our resiliency had emerged and grown stronger. Technology has also impacted our daily lives in ways we could not imagine in the “before times”. Many organizations have expedited their investment in enabling technology to enhance our work lives. I believe we will see this trend continue and maybe even grow faster in the coming year.
I recently held a Top of the Mountain Leadership™ Summit in August and we discussed ways to prepare leaders and engage teams in this shift in mindset. If you are struggling with creating a high-performing team in a hybrid world, please reach out. I’d love to provide value to you and share some resources. I also have provided ideas for a new reality of work in my book, Top of the Mountain Leadership, for a more in-depth exploration of the topic.
Have a great month reaching for the summit!