Just two weeks into 2021, and it’s already clear that the challenges of 2020 are not behind us. With COVID cases breaking records and sociopolitical unrest simmering, 2021 will require leaders, along with workers, to continue to bring their A game.
In 2020, we saw an evolution in how we work, network, communicate and learn. 2021 will require leaders to pivot further, ensuring they are better equipped to lead, whether it’s remotely likely in 2020, or in-person as we navigate toward a more hybrid office environment in 2021 — all amid continued concerns about public health and safety.
Here are three skill shifts to consider:
Communication to Empathy. Effective communication and productive go hand-in-hand. Communication is the top skill leaders and managers need to learn and practice. This year has forced leaders to communicate constructively even without answers. 2020 pushed many leaders outside of their comfort zones, requiring them to share more frequent updates, ask more questions, and listen more actively. Leaders have been asked to go deeper, though and develop empathy and improve how they connect with people and a person’s unique situation. As burnout worsens, empathy wil become even more important for leaders to practice on a regular basis
Emotional Intelligence to Emotional Agility. Emotional intelligence, or the ability to be aware of and control your own emotions, is still a highly desirable, and necessary, leadership quality. However, emotional agility goes beyond awareness and control. It’s both being aware of your feelings and knowing how to navigate through them.
Time Management to Context Management. When mass numbers of employees were forced to begin working remotely, we simply transferred how we worked in an office into the home space. Cramming meetings, presentations, and brainstorming sessions into zoom calls simply isn’t sustainable. The “flipped workplace” is about applying new classroom learning models to how we work. Flexibility and agility are skills all leaders will need to continue cultivating.
In 2021, make an effort to exhibit more empathy, more emotional agility, and more context management to lead your organization through the pandemic and beyond.