The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus would say that everything changes and flows (‘panta rhei’). 2,500 years later, his aphorism is still very relevant – more than ever in recent times. From climate change and pollution to social inequalities and health crises, the world is changing at a rapid pace. In the world of business, people expect companies and organisations to be in step with the times, and to address these ongoing issues too.
In short, employees are placing greater scrutiny on the business they work for. Meanwhile, they are reconsidering their own priorities as well, including how, what, and when they are prepared to carry out their job duties. If companies fail to keep up to speed with competitors and new mindsets, they may be losing out on talented staff.
As things stand, one of the biggest challenges in terms of leadership is to embrace change. It may not always be an easy ride, but it is an exciting journey that can be profitable in many different ways. While past leaders would ‘merely’ hold a hierarchical position of command, nowadays the role has shifted to encompass providing employees with support, optimism, and structure. Modern leaders are able to understand their employees as individuals and to empower their staff throughout their careers.
But as a business owner or manager, how can you bring about this change? How can you nurture a true leadership transformation? Here, we explore some of the ways you can create a positive culture within your workplace that can educate both yourself and the leaders of the future.
Adopt a human-centred approach
Getting to know the people you work with is critical. It is at the forefront of strong, human-centred leadership. By engaging in regular one-to-ones with your people and opening up honest and empathetic dialogues, you will be cultivating a supportive culture. Not only will you be learning more about your employees, but this process will help you establish mutual trust and relationships of respect.
Furthermore, a human-centred approach will allow you to provide your staff with the right balance of challenges and support. Workers will gain the opportunity to develop professionally and collaborate with colleagues – like yourself – in senior roles. When it is time for them to embrace higher positions, they will be mindful of your precious example.
Involve and engage
Again, it is important to develop a tight connection with your people. If you need to make a decision or are willing to drive change, why not ask your team for advice first? In most scenarios, your employees will be the people impacted by the change in the first place. This will help bring the team together and will promote quality conversations from which you can both learn significantly.
In fact, collaborative change processes offer numerous learning experiences, and cooperation can guide you towards the answers you require. By enhancing people’s confidence and cementing emotional engagement, the collaboration will both spark a sense of belonging and ensure everybody steps up to the plate when needed.
Make space for leadership to flourish
Telling people how to become better leaders is unlikely to develop a strong leadership culture. Instead, the recipe for success is to create space for leadership to rise and emerge organically. Thinking about taking on an innovation process? Bring multiple heads into one room and discuss how you can pursue it. This will encourage people to actively take leadership on certain tasks.
This can be achieved by stimulating team members and future leaders through openness, support, provocation, and challenge. Promoting a culture in which people can contribute to change, while also suggesting how to drive it, will foster the development of competent, aspiring leaders.
Employees may sometimes feel uncomfortable receiving or providing feedback to people in senior positions. Likewise, leaders and managers may fear potential criticism too. However, self-awareness is a vital ability to possess, and a feedback culture can truly boost your company.
Organising tasks for small groups and inviting each person to share their thoughts on their colleagues’ efforts is a great learning curve. Not only can it spark honest and open conversations, but it will also build up a healthy, transparent organisation. Therefore, giving and receiving feedback is a great communication strategy to incorporate into your workplace.
From promoting engagement to embracing a human-centred approach, there are many ways in which you can nurture leadership inside your business. Ultimately, you will be fostering an excellent workplace culture, while also providing your team with the skills required to, one day, master a more senior role.