The present and future of our country seem to be about change - change for ourselves, our businesses, and organizations. Now more than ever, leaders must make bold choices and reframe their tightly held paradigms. We are not entering a new norm, it is the next norm, and leaders will need a refreshed strategy to accomplish goals in this time of upheaval.
Here are a few tips that will be useful for heightening leadership skills and crafting a leadership strategy necessary to be an effective leader in the next norm.
1. Find Ways to Improve your Creativity and Optimism
Remember the saying, put your oxygen mask on first? This is the same for leaders who need to stay at good vibration levels to continue leading. Their tanks need to be filled with ideas and positivity, so there are reserves for those seeking inspiration from leadership. Sharp, quick thinking for big ideas, and determining the value for customers’ changing needs will be required in the new norm.
Here are some ways to remain happy and keep creative juices flowing:
One of the very best ways I have found to stay creative and improve my optimism at the same time is simply by writing. And it can be literally anything from a chapter of the book you are writing to one simple paragraph that tells the world who you are. Just take out the pen and let it come onto the page.
Daydream with intention. Plan time on your calendar to allow yourself to think, ponder and set goals. Don’t forget to visualize yourself reaching those heights and having a great time along the journey.
Having a daily ritual of appreciation not only amps up the optimism level as you show up to truly be mindful of what you have, but this sense of oneness sparks more neurons into motion and can bring some of your best ideas, especially during the morning hours.
2. Compassion within Management
A buzz term often heard in thought leadership is psychological safety. Psychological safety in the workplace is known to foster learning and productivity. A safe place to work leads to more innovation and a feeling of collaboration amongst the team. It promotes horizontal discussion across employees, not vertical communication between management and subordinates. Understanding the needs of individuals and taking the time to hear and understand what they prioritize and the challenges they face leads to an organization that moves through crisis and times of upheaval more adeptly and can concurrently reinforce their team and internal culture.
Therefore, be sure to celebrate small wins. Every step toward a new hire or a new client is a step made together and should be recognized as a group effort. Behind every hard hour worked there must be a culture of respect and acknowledgment.
Here are a few ways to practice compassionate leadership:
Encourage Time Off
This is one of the easiest and nicest things leaders can do. Employees may not want to take off right now. However, leaders must encourage mental breaks and ensure employees take the much-deserved time off they have earned. If they have reservations about the workload they are juggling and it’s preventing them from taking a day off, this could be a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Make sure employees are taking the same amount of time they would have taken had they continued commuting to their place of employment.
Offer teams benefits and perks that help them beyond their professional work. Bringing in resources such as business or life coaches and other speakers can help individuals reach their goals and figure out what is personally important. Teammates could be split into small groups that work together to build accountability and camaraderie.
Act on Caring about Employees’ Mental Health
Get creative with staff incentives. Consider options such as virtual group meditation. Ask everyone to take 5 to 10 minutes and zone out to soft music. This suggestion does not make you appear whimsical or odd… it is truly a practice of successful leaders and employees will appreciate it.
3. Fire Bullets, then Cannonballs.
This concept is taken from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. The bullets are the small proven ideas. Cannonballs are huge successes. The idea behind scaling innovation is to fire bullets to see what MAY work, then put effort and resources behind what is proven to work.
I have heard from business owners who feel rushed into making decisions right now.
However, COVID may have offered time to develop areas of their businesses that needed strengthening, so they decide to focus on one specific project. Others feel pressure to invest grant and loan capital back into their organizations but cannot decide on what to finance or to what degree.
Either way, leaders want change and growth and their teams are counting on them to bring it. Good leaders have a safe level of caution around the decisions they make. Let successes be the guide and then continue to pivot and build steam.
In the midst of a marketing campaign? Pick and choose where to spend before you have the proven analytics to move to the next campaign.
Want to expand into 5 or 6 differing markets? Research then identify an educated starting point and then make pivot as data is available.
These will be some of the practices I will focus on to improve my leadership qualities in the next norm. We need to have fresh, innovative ideas, put those ideas into motion using our relationships with amazing people, and then act with smart, strategic action that can be measured and calibrated for growth.