A leader needs a sense of purpose.
Not every leadership journey is linear, but all must have a sense of purpose. Having a clear purpose and outcome is vital in shaping strategic actions, whether it is in heading a regional bank, improving economic discussions by adding the gender dimension, or building a local non-profit community health center.
Your team must understand and believe in the mission too. As organisations become more complex, decisions need to be democratised. Employees and team members must understand the organisation’s purpose in order to make decisions that are in line with this purpose.
Focus on execution and outcomes, not just blueprints. The focus on execution and delivering results is understated. While it is important to build knowledge and develop the tools needed for delivering results, it is important to take the first step and just “do it”.
Learning from past crises, leadership must change and adapt accordingly.
Values outweigh delivering results. In a changing environment, leadership styles must adapt by focusing on the broader purpose. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, leaders had to create an empathetic environment for employees to rely on their leaders, making employees inspired to continue working from home and deliver results.
Passion delivers excellence and great results. To address the big resignation and quiet quitting during the Covid-19 pandemic, leaders must fuel employees’ passion and reengage staff. Leaders must do strategic planning to rethink how employees can perform in their jobs as it is more costly to rehire.
Spotlight on women leaders should not just be shone in times of crisis. There is a problematic narrative in which women leaders should be called upon when there is a ‘big mess’. However, discussions on female leadership cannot be one-dimensional and we must recognise women leaders as complex characters.
To weather through the perfect storm, certain leadership qualities are crucial.
Leaders need to enable diversity, equity and inclusion. With diversity, fewer blind spots go unnoticed, better decisions are made and innovation becomes a low-hanging fruit. Furthermore, leaders must recognise and embrace an increasingly diverse future.
Leaders must focus on their strengths, harness talent and be able to manage other competent leaders. With a myriad of varying issues and unpredictable events, it is impossible for leaders to handle all alone. Instead, leaders must deliver results by understanding their strong areas and empowering others.
A better balance between the ‘invisible hand’ and ‘invisible heart’. Apart from the invisible hand, we must ensure that policies look at values, beyond market outcomes. We need to act as a world and take the opportunity to shape the future trajectory through holistic thinking.