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5 Challenges Business Leaders Face Heading Into 2022
The challenges leaders have faced through the global pandemic will take on additional dimensions in 2022. It will become increasingly difficult to retain talent and recruit new employees. To address these problems, leaders will have to overcome challenges such as:
- Infusing technology with a human touch
- Shifting their focus to the people
- Investing in retraining and up-skilling
- Embracing new technologies
- Practicing intelligent inclusion
With workforce-impacting phenomena like the Great Resignation and the Zoom-boom in effect, business leadership will not return to its pre-pandemic state in 2022. It’s a safer bet to assume that it will probably never return to the pre-2020 leadership paradigms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed leadership irreversibly.
In the future, the relationship between leaders and their reports will continue to reflect the changes the pandemic has forced upon it, even as the stakeholders strive to find ways of alleviating the impact and creating a new, sustainable “normal.”
Leadership coaching has to adapt to the challenges leaders will face going forward. What exactly are these challenges?
1. Giving Technology a Human Spin
Embracing technology is inevitable for the survival of businesses. The pandemic and the restrictions it brought accelerated the adoption of cutting-edge technology in business, and this process will gather more momentum in the future.
By default, technology tends to lack a human element. Indeed, the Zoom era of 2020-2021 has made it more difficult for leaders to lead and build an organizational culture that empowers employees and encourages engagement. The Great Resignation, an increasing tendency on the part of employees to quit their jobs, could be the result of the failure of leaders to bridge the technology divide.
Leadership coaching professionals like myself have pointed out that leaders have to make extra efforts to convey authentic leadership to their reports under these new circumstances.
Let us not forget that leadership is fundamentally human. Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, compassion, and genuine support can only flourish within the context of profoundly human relationships.
2. Shifting the Focus to the People
As people find it easier and easier to abandon their jobs in search of greener pastures, talent retention and attracting new talent will jump to the forefront of leaders’ priorities in 2022.
As I have pointed out in my leadership development books, the keys to successful talent retention are many but well-defined.
- Corporate culture has a significant impact on employee productivity, trust, morale, and by extension, loyalty.
- Finding the reasons why employees may decide to leave is half the solution to the problem of talent retention. Employers should implement employee assistance and wellness programs to get to the root of problems and weed them out before they lead to talent hemorrhaging.
- Effective leadership must transcend the limitations technology imposes to inspire employees.
- Executive coaching should focus on endowing leaders with the skills they need to inspire their reports effectively while overcoming the technology hurdle.
3. Renewing Focus on Business Coaching and Up-skilling
In 2022, up-skilling budgets will gain significance not only as tools for ensuring leadership succession but as solutions for talent retention and attraction. The business environment that resulted from the pandemic rewarded the quick up-skilling and retraining of the workforce. In 2022, these tendencies will continue to persist, calling for a more refined, personal approach coupled with online training programs.
Investing in employee up-skilling is now imperative.
4. Embracing Technology
Business coaching professionals have always extolled the role of technology in keeping organizations competitive and attractive for new employees. The Zoom-boom is but the beginning of an increasing reliance on technology to conduct business.
Forward-looking organizations have long realized that endowing their employees with the right technology tools doesn’t just allow them to do their job better. It allows for more human interaction and strategic discussions. Technology will be indispensable for building meaningful relationships and effectively leading organizations.
5. Improving Company Culture through Diversity and Intelligent Inclusion
Inclusion and diversity are inherent positives for organizations. Yet, their impact depends on how organizations view and implement such efforts.
The intelligent inclusion efforts of the future will have to go far beyond blindly pushing an agenda. They will address the psychological reactivity that often comes with such efforts, defusing the effects of racial and cultural friction.
Business leaders now have more than two years’ worth of experience leading under the exceptional circumstances the pandemic has created. They have drawn their conclusions and know what allowed them to move forward despite the odds. It makes perfect sense to build upon these tried-and-true programs and practices.
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