As the world of work remains in a state of constant flux, dated command and control styles of leadership no longer remain capable of driving organizational success. The idea that a single person will authoritatively make all the decisions for a complex, disparate, global, and rapidly moving organization no longer makes sense. Today’s work environment needs leaders to become more empathetic and available. Leaders are now the pallbearers delivering greater enablement at work to their workforce.
The constant shifts in the workplace driven by demographic changes, technology advancements, volatile market conditions, and challenging economies have prompted the rise of Connected Leaders.
These leaders become essential to drive today’s enterprises as they inspire trust, build transparent structures, provide the workforce with greater clarity and control, and create a collaborative, psychologically safe, and helpful work environment.
So, what are the key things that connected leaders do differently?
1. More Focus for Their Teams
Connected leaders move away from rigid hierarchical systems based on set rules toward a more participative and collaborative structure. They operate like an interweaver that facilitates the coordination of a variety of networks in today’s hybrid modern enterprise.
This shift creates greater focus in teams. Connected leaders help their teams identify more strongly with the organization and create a deeper understanding of how they contribute to the overall purpose and direction of the business.
They help employees develop higher levels of accountability and assist them in developing an ownership mindset. Connected leaders are clear communicators, and the clarity they provide helps others to make effective decisions, even when they encounter novel situations.
Like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, connected leaders can help team members recognize their unique strengths and assist them in navigating their challenges without judgment.
Clarity on work, accessibility to help, and enablement at work delivered by these leaders help teams find their focus and work resolutely towards collective success.
2. Deliver Their Best Work
Connected leaders do not hesitate to get down into the trenches and get their hands dirty. These leaders are extremely motivated and focused on delivering their best at work. They understand that successful leadership is not instructional. Successful leadership is all about leading by example and walking the talk.
As such, connected leaders ensure that they deliver their best work. To ensure relevance in a constantly shifting market, they remain on the path of continuous learning. They are open to feedback and continuously seek it to continue delivering their best at work. Whether it is identifying their individual critical skills gaps or augmenting their technical skills, these leaders are focused on learning to improve their work outcomes. This attitude creates the right culture across the organization and ensures that the workforce mimics this attitude.
3. More Help, No Criticism
Unlike 20th-century leaders who considered employees as a necessary evil, connected leaders believe that their purpose is to create a work environment where people don’t survive; they thrive.
An enabling and successful work environment is one where people can take chances and make mistakes without fear of judgment. Such an environment is essential for innovation as it helps people remain focused on work rather than on building perceptions.
Connected leaders are empathetic and understanding. They are non-judgmental and more focused on helping people navigate their challenges by helping them access the right resources. These leaders are not instructional and are keener on exploring different viewpoints, making them more well-suited for a world of work that is disparate and diverse.
These leaders work on building greater understanding and promoting diversity of opinion. They drive excellence by removing the barriers that impede productivity and innovation. Connected leaders also have a growth mindset. As such, they do not view challenges as points of failure but rather as opportunities for improvement. This approach gives teams the space to not just grow but to thrive.
Connected leaders also actively coach their teams and help them navigate barriers to success. They ensure greater equity and create a psychologically safe work environment for people to feel confident and excel.
4. Comfort in Saying NO or Saying YES to LESS
Connected leaders are also leaders who are comfortable saying ‘no’. They also say ‘yes to less’. However, this does not mean that they are unavailable or unapproachable.
Connected leaders can clearly identify the difference between “urgent” and “important” tasks. They are extremely self-aware and work continuously to optimize their capacity to objectively assess which tasks are high-value and need their time and which tasks need delegation.
They are also clear communicators and can successfully negotiate their time with those demanding it.
Their communication skills ensure that the ‘no’ is not taken in a negative light. Besides, their confidence and clarity of thought help them see that saying ‘yes’ to everything creates chaos and anxiety. Both these traits impede correct and productive outcomes.
Connected leaders create clear boundaries and do not rush to say ‘yes.’ They are responsive and not reactive to situations and, as such, make better decisions and use their time more productively. Incidentally, this approach also contributes towards the development of an environment where people become more productive, responsive, and, as such, more resilient.
5. Develop Transferable Skills Across Their Teams
Good leadership is all about balancing business needs with the needs of the teams and creating an affiliation between the team and the business to increase job enrichment, engagement, and satisfaction.
Connected leaders, as such, are highly focused on building transferrable skills across their teams. Building these skills ensures that employees remain on their path of personal development and can augment their career outcomes. These leaders help employees excel in their professional careers by assisting them in identifying and bridging their critical and technical skill gaps.
Building transferable skills ensures that the organization can close its skill gaps and confidently leverage new opportunities. Organizations also need transferrable critical skills like problem-solving, collaboration, communication, analytical reasoning, strategic thinking, etc., along with elevated technical skills for greater business resilience.
Connected leaders leverage coaching heavily to build transferrable skills across their teams to ensure that the organization remains responsive to the threats and opportunities presented by a complex, global market.
A connected leader can be compared to a symphony orchestra conductor. The conductor knows the strengths and weaknesses of all the players. With this knowledge, they guide and coordinate different parts of an orchestra and create the space in sections for the right melodies to become louder – while the rest of the orchestra plays along harmoniously. In the same way, a connected leader leads an organization to success by identifying strengths and weaknesses at an individual level and then creating the systems and structures that motivate people to give their best.
Unlike traditional authoritarian leadership styles, connected leaders create a more human-centric organization. They build more bridges and create a dense structure of people who work well together in a disparate and hybrid world of work.
Connect with us to see how we can help your organization build connected leaders to steer your organization to success.