“We have to be deliberate about wanting to solve the problem.”
For today’s The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) Podcast, Brendan Rogers is back in the hot seat. Marc Charetteis the interviewer and the conversation is focused on Brendan’s top three leadership challenges in the workplace for 2023 - Work Environment, People and Leadership Competence.
Being deliberate about the strategic intent of what the work environment needs to look like moving forward. How to attract good people and the hiring and retention of good people, that happens far better if the leader has leadership competence.
Let’s start by setting the scene through the lens of change, thanks to that dreaded word ‘COVID’ which was the burning bridge…
It is time for leaders to get deliberate about what the work environment looks like, particularly in relation to work-from-home, work-from-office and hybrid situations. The nuance is dependent on what works in your environment, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Today’s conversation is not aimed at those environments that have operated with remote work since they started, because their systems were already in place.
Getting deliberate about what the work environment looks like starts with strategic conversations. If you are a leader in a large organization then the conversation needs to start with the senior leadership team. The strategic conversation for small business leaders, with a handful of staff, should be had with everybody. Not one-on-one, but as a team in a meeting room.
For Brendan, the work environment is the greatest challenge for leaders in 2023.
Establishing the work environment model will impact the change of staffing; whom it will attract and what opportunities it will bring; both in-office, hybrid, or fully remote. Finding good people, with respect to what works for your organization and what you are looking for, as well as learning how to find good people, is absolutely critical. Getting the right people is very dependent on what is valued from a behavioural perspective.
Leaders need followers otherwise, how do you have leaders?
An effective leadership skill is leading people in a way that they feel valued and cared for as this reduces the likelihood of them leaving. Retention is a really good measure most of the time, but there is always context that can change that.
Research says that those who feel like they are learning, growing and developing in their role; whether that is moving up, moving sideways, or enhancing their current role, will stay a long time in organizations because their needs are being met.
There is a lot of technical competence in the workforce; very, very good technical competence and very, very smart people. It is leadership competence that is the focus of this conversation.
Leaders must have awareness in order to identify things such as: this is not as good as what it could be, I know I can be a better leader, I just don't know how to be a better leader. If leaders don't have awareness, they won't even start to seek out information to try and help.
Actually, should we even use the word leader if they are not always looking to develop themselves?
Let's just assume that people who consider themselves leaders are always looking to evolve, develop and improve themselves, recognising that upskilling is super important. When they are always on that wheel of improvement and self-mastery that is when points one and two, environment and people, will start to fall in place.
The best leaders aren't reactive, they are very proactive. They know when they come in each day, each week, each month, they are seeing—for want of a better word—the future.