What has really changed?
Recently, we have been asked to comment on the changes in our work environment. Here are our candid answers – intentionally different, as usual.
Q: Everyone speaks of “change”. What exactly has changed in the world of work in 2020?
As a somewhat provocative answer, rather little has changed for companies that have long relied on “work from home” or even “work from anywhere”, that have consciously replaced business travel with virtual meetings and that have implemented extensive internal communication and HR systems. Therefore, one could see the pandemic as a kind of accelerator for companies that still demanded a strong office presence from their staffs and that worked predominantly along manual control processes.
Q: Since most employees have been working from home, communication among each other has also changed. What do you think leaders have to pay special attention to here?
The ability to foster a corporate culture based on trust has always been a primary role for leaders. If you have not done that yet, you had to catch up quickly now. In addition, transparent and honest dialogues with a healthy amount of empathy are crucial when successfully switching interpersonal relationships from “real” to “virtual”.
Q: Has the leadership style in companies been influenced by the new way of working? And if so, how?
Yes, we have finally seen a process of “letting go” here. Leaders have realized and recognized that employees are more committed when given a higher degree of freedom and autonomy in their work. This “empowerment” requires the trust that has already been mentioned, and should take place within a framework of clearly defined goals. The position of the respective leader is increasingly taking a back seat, while the leadership person, aka character, is gaining importance.
Q: In your opinion, how should the topic of “change” be handled individually?
The answer is already in the question: individually. Unfortunately, “change” was rather often than not carried out holistically. It was about organizations, systems or processes that had to be changed – rarely about the people concerned by the change. Once leaders treat each individual employee with the aforementioned empathy, listening and understanding as well as identifying how they can guide each individual employee through the change process, then we have a realistic chance to successfully lead and coach through change. That takes a lot of time – and it pays off.
In conclusion, the best way to confront the new situation is to coach through change based on old values and principles. As leader, don’t be the position which you behold but become the person whom people want to follow – based on integrity, serenity and humanity.
Choose ATvisor™ – Live & Lead wiser.
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