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Leadership In The New Normal

A different kind of leader is required to ensure that their organisation adapts and thrives in the business environment that the pandemic has created over the last 18 months.

For businesses and brands to have survived, they have had to adopt an innovative approach to strategy and be agile and respond to changing circumstances. Companies have had to find new ways to keep trading, connect with customers and keep their brands and business alive. 

The business environment has changed completely, customers’ behaviours have shifted, technological and personnel requirements are diverse, and operating conditions are radically different. 

We are now working in the knowledge economy, the accelerated development of eCommerce, artificial intelligence coupled with the use of remote offices, flexible hours and workplaces and new working conditions.

We are working under conditions of great stress. According to some experts, South Africa is experiencing one of the most stressful times in recent history. This is one of the most challenging times for leaders, dealing with the disruption of the economy and society and still charting a strategic path. As the operating environments become more unpredictable and the stakes get higher, it becomes harder to make sound strategic decisions. 

In today’s workplace, leaders need to be effective communicators and motivators who engage with their teams and drive them to be innovative. Leaders need to create a space where innovation can happen. We need a mindset change. What may have worked in the past may no longer work today to create space for new ideas to grow. Teams should have their leaders support to try and test new ideas. 

Leaders and business owners should be careful about relying totally on their hunches when making decisions. The level of uncertainty in the current environment requires business leaders to rely on strategic decision-making tools and processes.   

Leaders also need to be aware of their own biases affecting the decisions they make. Ask yourself whether you prefer people who tend to agree with you. Do you think someone from a similar background will have better ideas than someone from another culture? A good way to avoid your bias influencing you is to open yourself to as many differing opinions as possible. 

Leaders and those tasked with strategic decision making can surround themselves with people from diverse backgrounds and think differently. They could appoint more women in senior positions. Studies show women perform better in leadership skills, and the more gender-diverse an organisation, the more productive it is. 

The new normal is here, and good leaders should quickly adjust to what is going on around them. Invest in upskilling their teams and establishing a learning culture in their organisations. They should encourage and invite a diversity of views and encourage people to remain open-minded, inquisitive and become more innovative.

Leaders that demonstrate flexibility and successfully create a culture of innovation in these times are likely to be those who will succeed in uncertain times.

"I believe that leadership Coaching is a process of self-understanding and can help every organisation achieve success. Reach out to me today to learn more about how to develop your leaders, Coach Sonja Shear".

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