In the post-Covid era, organisations have recognised a significant shift in the role of leaders. As one of our interviewees eloquently put it, the essence of the job remains the same, but the approach to executing it has evolved. The emergence of the hybrid working model demands that most leaders adapt their leadership styles to meet new challenges, and providing adequate support for this transition is crucial for success. Consequently, this shift also influences how organisations approach leadership recruitment. In this context, we highlight some key leadership competencies that organisations should prioritise in the realm of hybrid work.
Communication remains an essential trait of great leaders. However, the post-pandemic landscape has altered the way leaders must communicate. While capturing the attention of an audience in a physical setting is still important, engaging people in virtual environments requires additional finesse. In such spaces, where audiences have more distractions and authority must be earned, leaders need to exercise their communication skills more assertively and frequently. Moreover, leaders must actively listen and adapt to the individual needs of their team members to ensure effective communication.
Adaptability takes on newfound significance in this era. Organisations now place greater emphasis on leaders who are flexible and agile. With team members working in diverse locations and often on different schedules, a one-size-fits-all approach to team management is no longer viable. Leaders must display the ability to adjust their strategies and practices to cope with changing circumstances and diverse working conditions.
Empathy has become a paramount quality for effective leaders. The pandemic has reset expectations regarding leadership roles. During the initial months of uncertainty and fear, employees sought more than just direction and vision from their leaders; they also yearned for recognition, understanding, care, and support. This trend persists, and employees now expect their managers to demonstrate genuine concern for their well-being, moving beyond mere performance evaluation. As a result, leaders are required to adopt a more human and emotionally intelligent approach to leading and managing their teams.
Vision plays a crucial role in maintaining cohesion among physically separated team members. With many employees operating in remote workspaces or their homes, there’s a risk of cultural and strategic disconnection. Therefore, it becomes more critical than ever for leaders to provide their teams with a clear and coherent vision. Moreover, they must consistently communicate this vision through multiple channels and settings to ensure alignment and motivation within the team.
In conclusion, the post-Covid landscape demands that leaders adapt and enhance their leadership competencies. By prioritising effective communication, adaptability, empathy, and visionary capabilities, organisations can foster successful leadership in a world of hybrid work.