I think most of us were pleased to see the back of 2021, whilst it has not been as bad as 2020 it was far from easy! The leaders I spoke to towards the end of the year, all shared their reality that 2021 was exhausting and personally challenging and they were looking forward towards 2022 in the hope that it turns out to be a little less stressful and manically busy. Let’s see….
One of the legacies 2021 gave leaders are a set of emerging themes that create a ‘playground’ of opportunities for leaders to explore. Here are a few trends for leaders to consider:
Strike the balance between hope and reality
Leaders need to purveyors of hope. We all want to work for someone who we believe knows what they are doing and has a plan. When we are under pressure we need coaching with compassion from our boss, rather than the far more common coaching for compliance. Ask your people what their hopes and aspirations are for 2022 and see what hurdles you can help remove for them so they can become the best version of themselves.
Remain Agile and Pivot quickly
2021 continued to prove that ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’. As new ways of working, new ways of thinking and new ways of leading started to become the new normal. The challenge for 2022 is how to build on this new mind-set and capitalise on the quick innovative skills that have permeated our everyday ways of working. Hankering after any pre-Covid ‘normal’ is futile, in some sectors this will never return and this may not be a bad thing. Leaders have to embrace the opportunities and mitigate the threats, the new reality presents. It is the job of a leader to spotlight opportunities and search for some more if they are hiding in current reality.
Balance Efficiency with Resilience
Many organisations have had their market place and commercial dynamics severely tested by the global lock-down. The temptation to cost cut, or throw money at, our problems is pretty compelling. However, people can only take so much stress before it becomes debilitating. Leaders need a way to tune into the ‘pulse and pressure’ across their organisations and keeping this delicate balance in harmony. This will be an ongoing leadership challenge throughout 2022.
Cash is King.
For start-up entrepreneurs and owner managers this has always been a brutal reality. Larger organisations tend to focus more on turnover and profit and this can be dangerous and catch them out big time. It is key to understand your cash ‘burn rate’ and getting that balance between profit and cash-flow will be one of the commercial challenges that remain throughout 2022. In particular as governments around the developed world are looking to claw back the unprecedented sums of money they have spent to control the pandemic. Tax is not optional and requires cash!
Time to Acquire?
There are still many severely injured, and some terminally ill, organisations out there at the moment. If your organisation has found a way to survive and thrive then now could well be the time to push ahead and acquire and grow. You also may need to diversify to grow. Whatever the strategic challenges you face, acquisitions should be a carefully considered option.
Personal Resilience is Key.
Put your oxygen mask on before you attempt to help others is a well drilled instruction that those of us who used to fly a lot. The same advice will continue to apply throughout 2022. Leaders are no use if they are exhausted, stressed and feeling locked into relentless Zoom / Teams calls. Taking the time to regularly refresh, rejuvenate and take care of yourself will remain a priority throughout 2022.
Reflect and Learn.
2021 was an extraordinary year. Learning through reflection is the noblest way to personally thrive and grow. Finding a trusted coach, or mentor who can help guide and support as well as create the safe space for you to reflect and learn has never been more needed.
This is great news for my business model and I intend to continue to catch the tailwind of organisations and leaders looking for support to help them transform, change and grow. This is central to my own leadership challenge in 2022. If I can help you with your challenges then please do not hesitate to contact me.