Evolving Your Leadership Style In Uncertain Times

There’s no doubt that 2020 is the epitome of “uncertain times.” This year has created unprecedented challenges for everyone. Business leaders were suddenly thrown into virtual work, furloughs and other previously unimaginable situations that require impeccable leadership. Even before the crisis, leaders needed to examine and evolve their leadership style continually, but current challenges have made such reflection even more critical. Now is the time to take a step back and think about your leadership style, your organization, how the business landscape is changing, and how you can best motivate your team.

Leaders first need to identify the skills which will bring successful leadership in 2020. While there are a few different skills and styles that will ultimately enable leaders to tread through these murky waters, they all stem from two seemingly basic attributes: adaptability and humanity. It should come as no surprise that leaders must be adaptable and make humanity the focus of everything they do this year. Adaptability surfaces not just in how leaders react to challenges but also in how they create their new leadership style. Leaders must be willing to reinvent themselves and their organizations. When thinking about an adaptable organization, one must think about people’s arrangements that can help them achieve this. Networked organizations and outsourcing will bring together a large, diverse group of people enabling more diversified and distributed leadership.

As soon as leaders achieve an adaptable mindset, they must turn their attention to humanity, which surfaces through the transformational leadership style. Transformational leadership centers around the relationship between employees and leaders. Having leaders focus all of their actions around a relationship instead of a business makes it that much easier for humanity to become a priority. For example, with transformational leadership, leaders are more than just leaders. They are role models, vulnerable and empathetic people, as well as vision and culture creators. Leaders become role models by being team players and setting a strong personal example of integrity, authenticity, vulnerability, and positivity. Further, transformational leaders bring emotional agility and empathy to all their decisions and interactions. Emotionally agile leaders have heightened “self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.” Through emotional agility, leaders will become emotionally intelligent and express empathy meaningfully. By expressing empathy, leaders will understand employees’ goals and how they align with the company’s. This, in turn, will help leaders when making complex business decisions. Finally, a transformational leader has a compelling vision and creates a healthy culture. Leaders who have a strong vision and make this the company’s “North Star” will have better-engaged employees and full organizational connectivity, which in turn will enable success no matter what happens.

With a better understanding of what leadership style to strive for, the next step is putting it into action. It all starts by being introspective. Ask yourself questions like “What kind of leader am I? What do I believe in and how do I communicate those beliefs? How do my people see me?” By asking these questions, you’ll be able to bring adaptability and humanity into your leadership. Further, try always to keep your mindset geared toward your goals. Don’t let what everyone else is doing distract you, and instead actively practice that transformational leadership style while working in and on the business. Finally, as always, it’s good to have a work-life balance. A great leader is one who is always available, but encourages people to respect the weekend and time off.

While it’s easier said than done, by asking yourself questions, adjusting your mindset, and projecting the change you wish to see, your leadership style will begin to evolve seamlessly. Always remember, there is no perfect leader, but the ones who are adaptable, quick, and put humanity first will make the progress necessary to thrive during this challenging time.