A new survey has revealed that kind leadership is crucial to workplace success in our post-Covid world.
The pandemic has placed leadership under the microscope, both corporate and political: accelerating our understanding of the qualities required to navigate a crisis.
A new survey conducted by Hall & Partners, in collaborations with the Global Thinkers Forum, Saïd Business School and Women of the Future programme, has delved deep into the global leadership styles that have been truly effective at this time. The one quality that shines out above all others? Kindness.
The survey revealed that nearly three in five global workers (58 per cent) believe the kind actions taken by their company during lockdown has made them want to stay longer than originally planned. Kind leadership has been key and will be even more critical in the coming months to keep staff motivated and engaged.
The survey has also pushed us further in our understanding of ‘kind’ leadership. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents agreed it’s more important to be adaptable rather than rallying - suggesting that action, rather than purely motivational talk, is key in a crisis.
Historically, kindness in business has been seen as a ‘soft’ skill, and even a weakness. These results now point to kindness as the essential quality required when tough decision making is needed. Indeed, kindness is being courageous in the midst of turmoil; it’s a long-term commitment to empowering and listening to others; it’s the tireless pursuit of inclusion, and it’s being honest, open and not sugar-coating the facts.
With these skills having emerged as vital to having coped with the impact of the pandemic, perhaps it should come as no suprise that it is the female leaders of countries such as New Zealand, Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Germany who are being applauded as the "most successful" globally.
In this period of radical change, there has been plenty of radical thinking, too. Projects that may have taken years to come to fruition have cut through the red tape and been delivered in record time. The age old "flexible working isn’t an option" line has been dealt an almighty blow.
So much of what we thought was not possible, has been proved wrong. So how can we take what we have learnt about effective leadership and ensure permanent cultural change that will help businesses and individuals to recover and thrive?
One first step is to cement flexible working options. Almost half (49 per cent) of UK employees are leading the global charge for these options to underpin future kindness at work.
Businesses also need to look for ways in which to create a culture of kindness; creating new habits and behaviours that build motivation, collaboration and trust.
Next steps will include meeting the needs of the global workforce; namely regular company updates and keeping communication channels open. With job insecurity a reality for so many, it will also be vital to build confidence and team engagement by sharing long-term recovery strategies.
Businesses must put plans in place to address the disproportionate effect that the pandemic has had on women – from family life and childcare to home-schooling and, of course, economically.
Original source: The Telegraph. Article by Pinky Lilani, Founder of Women of the Future.
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