Leadership Trends To Adapt In 2021


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We’re already one month into the new year and while business may seem to be taking off, this is not a time to let our guard down as the pandemic is still very much alive. Of course, remote working continues for majority of the Indian workforce, but business leaders have it differently. Besides working remotely, the responsibility of managing a hybrid workforce is where the new challenge lies. What skillset is required? How can things be done differently to be more effective? Paying close attention to the dynamic changes over the past months, we’ve created a list of leadership trends that need to be adapted in 2021 for smooth running of the company.


1. Expand Horizontal Development


Horizontal development is the growth of one’s skillset by adding new skills and tools to become more proficient. These skills are specific to business requirements and increases one’s knowledge about the industry. Also known as the traditional leader development, now more than ever it is imperative for those in senior positions to invest in this type of training. This form of development often helps to put one’s knowledge into practical use.


The speed at which economic and climatic conditions are changing, horizontal development support leaders in preparing for the next “unprecedented moment”.


2. Be Open To Vertical Development


It’s been proven that vertical development makes one a better leader! This aspect of development focuses on broadening one’s way of thinking and behaving. As a result, one is more capable of adapting to circumstances and being more adjustable in certain situations. Given that it changes one’s mindset, it enhances those in positions of power to be more collaborative, self-aware and mindful of what needs to be done.


Such changes have a positive impact on the culture and functioning of the organization as a whole. Of the two development leadership trends, the latter assists an individual to weather out stormy weather with resilience while the former provides one with technical knowledge on how to reach safe waters.


3. Amplify Internal Communication


One of the key skills a leader must adapt to is amplifying internal communication with the entire workforce. With the amount of uncertainty and anxiousness last year brought, easing these worries through regular and meaningful communication is expected by leaders today. More than just being one of the main leadership trends in 2021, communicating with the team frequently is a crucial business requirement as the lack of it can impact productivity and output.


As the hybrid working model stands to be the latest normal, internal communication is the key to balancing this workforce.


4. Lead With Transparency


Transparent leadership is leading by honesty, sharing information (good and bad) that impacts an employee’s experience, and being open to accepting feedback. The absence of it deters employees from being completely loyal to the company and ultimately, prompts them to look elsewhere for other opportunities.


Being transparent builds stronger interpersonal relationships and collaboration at work, thereby increasing employee engagement, innovation and the freedom to express oneself. When it comes to being a leader, earning the trust of your team is of utmost importance as it also sets the pace of business growth.


5. Be Human; Empathetic

One of the biggest lessons 2020 taught us was to be kind and understanding of what the other person is going through. Empathetic leadership took precedence as the secret skill required to hold the company together through such scary and uncertain situations. One year later, this skill remains as a priority as it sets the base to have honest conversations on how one is coping through work.


Empathetic leadership can be inculcated via training workshops that address aspects on work life such as setting boundaries, understanding the need to say no to working weekends, being understanding of family interruptions during video calls, how to maintain a work-life balance and the likes.


More than just advising on what to do next, these leadership trends have structured business growth and expansion plans that can be implemented only through the right form of leadership and organization governance.