Do you want to know the worst part of becoming an effective business leader? Once you’ve achieved your goal, you have to start all over again!
That’s because business leadership is dynamic. You must be an effective leader for employees who hail from different generations, and you must reach customers in a time of major technological and demographic change. It all adds up to one big fact: The leadership strategies that worked once before may not be effective in the coming days.
However, true leaders understand how to adapt. To help you become a better leader, we put together the definitive list of how business leadership has changed in recent years and what you can do to become a better leader.
1. The Challenges of Remote Work
You can’t always control the things that change the ways we get work done. For example, remote work was something only a relatively few workers and managers were accustomed to a few years ago. But ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the norm for many people.
If you have a remote team, it’s important to familiarize yourself with different remote communication and organization apps so that you can be on the same wavelength as the rest of your team. You’ll also need to go out of your way to check on the needs of your remote workers and find creative ways to keep everyone engaged when they don’t share an office. This is easier said than done, but remote teams with the right leadership are highly productive, so it’s worth your time and effort.
2. The Importance of Collaborative Leadership
Once upon a time, leadership was a matter of an executive figuring out what a company needed to do and then giving their employees marching orders. These days, however, workers tend to be much more independent and freethinking, and this requires managers to master the art of collaborative leadership.
In practical terms, this means going out of your way to ask for employee input (such as constructive criticism) and putting good ideas to use for the benefit of the company. When you do so, it’s important to single out the employee who had a good idea for special praise. This helps improve company morale while also helping you retain your best workers.
3. The Need to Lead
Going off the previous point, business leadership used to be a very solitary practice. Under this model, businesses were a bit like the military, with management as generals who give the workers, or soldiers, their marching orders. In these cases, management often had little contact with workers during day-to-day operations.
Modern workers expect managers to lead and not just hang back in their offices. It’s important for you to both mingle with employees on a regular basis and to demonstrate the skills your employees need to master. For example, a sales manager should be able to muster strategies to close sales, deal with problem customers, and so on. In addition to helping workers master skills in record time, your regular presence on the “front lines” of your office will encourage employees to come to you with ideas, creating a more collaborative office.
4. The Power of Empowerment
As a leader, you’ll hear plenty of buzzwords each year, and it’s easy to groan at annoying terms like “thought leader.” However, one concept is not a buzzword and will transform your entire office, and that is the importance of empowerment to your employees.
In other words, it’s not enough to simply expect excellent performance from your employees. If you don’t identify employee strengths and nurture them (for example, putting a gifted writer in charge of your social media feeds), your best workers may go somewhere else where they feel more valued. Instead of letting the competition scoop your best workers, try to find creative ways to reward their efforts. In turn, you’ll be rewarded with better employee loyalty, productivity, and innovation.
5. Technology Marches On
Unfortunately, much of our personal and professional lives are dominated by technology. And technological changes in recent years have demanded leaders change how they approach managing employees.
For example, you need to actually master tools such as Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and many more. And if you manage remote workers, you may need to master collaborative and communication tools ranging from Slack to Microsoft Teams.
There is an upside to all of this, though. Once you master the different programs your company uses, you’ll be able to improve how you communicate with employees, keep track of customer info, close important sales, and recruit new workers. In short, technology is the key to a more productive office, and mastering the tech helps you master effective modern business leadership.
6. Changing Customers Demand Changes in Leaders
So far, we have focused on how changes in everything from your employees to your technology have required you to change how you lead. But there is one more very important factor you should be aware of: changes to your company’s key business demographics.
If your team sells products, then you may already know that different generations have different priorities. Relating to the customer and ultimately closing a sale is very different for, say, millennials versus “zoomers.” And Boomers are a generation unto themselves.
Here’s the thing, though: It’s important that your business caters to as many customers as possible. By reading up on the latest market research and creating customer profiles for members of different generations, you and your team can build your brand like never before.
Become the Most Effective Business Leader Today!
Now you know how business leadership has changed and how you can improve your own leadership. However, do you know where you can best put your skills as a leader to use?