If you haven’t noticed, the future of work is here — and it’s still evolving rapidly.
A generation ago, more than 40% of workers remained with the same organization for 20+ years. Today, the average is just 4.1 years.
What people want from their work has changed, too. Whereas it used to include a paycheck (of course), job security, and a pension for the end, modern job seekers are in search of much, much more. Things like flexible work options, professional development, and psychological safety.
How serious are people about thriving as a whole person? Well…
- 79% say they would leave their current work environment for one that better supports their well being
- 74% say if they have a “very good” relationship with their leadership teams, they’re also generally satisfied with their job
- Only 15% say they’re satisfied in their job if they report having a “very poor” relationship with their manager
New leadership skills are needed. So how do we develop more great business leaders? That is — quite literally — the million dollar question.
8 Leadership Skills to Prioritize in 2022
1. Cultivate relationships amongst team members
People are happier when they have a best friend at work. And in an effort to take care of team members and boost retention, there are leadership skills we can leverage to nudge those relationships along.
To build connection, try these 3 practical tips:
- Making space in team meetings for colleagues to share about their family or free time
- Encouraging coworkers to show appreciation to each other through social recognition
- Scheduling (optional) times outside of work for team relationship building
2. Develop emotional intelligence (EQ) in others
What does it look like to be a person with high EQ? Think: self-aware, empathetic, adaptive, humble, self-secure. An emotionally intelligent leader is good at reading their people and knowing what they need. They consciously model behaviors like vulnerability about their challenges, owning their mistakes, and keeping a healthy work-life balance.
But they also know how to empower their team members to build emotional intelligence. High-level leaders are skilled at asking hard questions, giving tough feedback, then providing plenty of resources for employees to grow on their own terms.
3. Prioritize leadership development
Modern employees are looking for leaders who will take a sincere interest in their goals, serving as a mentor not only on their work projects, but also on their personal career path.
That’s why today’s best leaders are constantly looking for ways to empower their employees to develop new skills. Whether through effective 1-on-1s, quarterly performance evaluations, or water cooler conversations, these leaders know that employee development is key to employee retention and improving their own leadership skills.
4. Communicate clearly in times of crisis
This one’s worth reiterating: strong leaders build trust through transparency. The impact of covid-19 has looked like layoffs during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic to the great resignation just a year later. Swings that big can give any leader whiplash.
During seasons of change, these leaders anticipate employees’ need for being in the know. They set clear expectations, then ensure quality feedback is flowing up, down, and across the organization.
5. Don’t ignore mental health
Healthcare is about more than monitoring physical health — it’s about mental and emotional health, too. Leaders can support employee overall well-being by encouraging time off, pushing out deadlines for struggling team members when they’re not urgent, or enabling people to skip non-essential meetings when they have an above-average workload.
6. Keep remote and hybrid teams aligned
Employees need a manager who’s able to cast a compelling vision, who keeps the inspiring “why” right at the center. But they also need someone who drives the ball down the field.
In a world where work might be in-office, remote, or a combination of the two, this can get especially tricky. High-level leaders know how to help employees and teams with effective goal-setting, where individual objectives become humanized and aligned.
7. Commit to data-driven decision making
Employees rest easier when they know their managers can be trusted to be decisive, wise, and non-reactionary. Capable leaders chart a course based on facts and vetted-input rather than hazy “gut feelings” or baseless fears.
By gathering quantitative data through forums such as employee surveys, organizational leaders are able to support action across the entire employee lifecycle with powerful technology and analytics.
8. Recognize & reward
The best leaders say “thank you” — and they mean it. They know that they’re not an island, and that any success is due to team contributions. They’re quick to cheer over big and small wins, recognize effort, and aren’t jealous of those in the spotlight. They share praise publicly when it’s appropriate and offer private thanks too.
Recognition and rewards — like so many other elements of leadership — are even more important in remote and hybrid work arrangements, when there’s a danger for many employees to go unnoticed and unappreciated. The simple act of saying “thank you” can dramatically boost employee engagement, retention, and overall job satisfaction.
Work smarter, not harder, with tools that make leading easier
Ok, that was a big list of leadership skills. With manager burnout increasing rapidly, how do we help leaders excel at meeting employee’s needs and also create a little more margin?
It’s all about giving the right tools.
What if there were a way for managers to instantly find out if their strategies are working? What if they could find out with a few clicks how their employees are really feeling — about recent organizational changes, new tech, team dynamics, leadership styles, DEI… literally anything?
Well…that would be a powertool. And fortunately, it exists in the form of employee surveys. Having templates means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Results are instant, and the system even provides recommendations based on results.
When employees see that managers make changes based on their responses, they know their voice is valued. That’s huge.
Curious to learn more about surveys and our platform? We’re inviting leaders to a walkthrough of WorkTango’s survey platform — with no strings attached.
Building aligned, productive cultures hinges on effective performance management. Strong performance management includes weekly or bi-weekly1-on-1’s between managers and direct reports, quarterly performance check-ins to look at the big picture, and as-needed chats in between.
Recognition + Rewards
What are the top two causes of employee resignation? 1) Not feeling valued by an organization, 2) Not feeling valued by a manager. Could that message be any louder?
Having happy employees depends on abundant recognition. But it takes time for a manager to give shout-outs every time they’re deserved. Popping on the recognition and rewards platform streamlines that process. It makes kudos the work of a few clicks.
Ready for leaders and employees to thrive?
With the Kazoo+WorkTango platform, all of your employee experience data — employee surveys, performance management, and recognition & rewards — can live together in one place!
Kazoo + WorkTango: the first holistic Employee Experience Platform that helps companies engage, retain, and inspire their workforce through recognition and rewards, continuous performance conversations, and authentic employee listening through surveys. Built for the world we live in and the world we want – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice.