Top 6 Leadership Trends in 2023 and beyond

LAST UPDATE ON February 23, 2023

The future of work is here. A world filled with increasing disruption, ever-evolving expectations from your customers and workforce alike, and new ways to work productively. A world where leaders are expected to take a stand on global societal issues.

With so much at stake, today’s leaders need to sit up and take notice. Your teams and employees are becoming more selective with their employers, demanding better work-life balance, and expecting more opportunities to develop themselves as both professionals and individuals.

You need to adjust your leadership approach to remain competitive in this changing landscape. Here are 6 trends that will shape the future of leadership and how you, as a current manager or aspiring leader, can adapt to them.

1. New Leadership models

What does the future hold for business leaders? Traditional structures are being replaced by a flatter, more collaborative and inclusive model. In this new model, authority rests with teams rather than individuals, which makes them more efficient and effective while also allowing you to focus on broader leadership responsibilities, such as long-term strategy, collaborating with your leadership counterparts in other teams and departments, or even managing up.

Two notable models to keep in mind include collaborative leadership, which is a team-based approach towards achieving shared goals, where every member of the team is responsible for contributing their own ideas and inputs. According to McKinsey, a whopping 97% of both employees and leaders attributed a project’s failure to a lack of alignment, the need for collaborative leadership is clearly more important than ever.

Another is empowerment, which means giving your team greater autonomy to take initiative and make
decisions on behalf of you and the company.

2. Managing your hybrid managers

While the pandemic might be in our rear-view mirror, what has remained is the desire for greater flexibility and hybrid work. Owl Labs found that 62% of employees around the world are choosing hybrid work.

This desire for hybrid work would naturally apply to your managers as well. It’s important for leaders to acknowledge the differences between their expectations for managers who choose to fully work from the office, and those who only see their teams in-person at certain times of the week, or month.

Hybrid managers need to be able to work independently and communicate effectively, as well as manage their own time. That’s a lot of ground to cover—and if your managers are not prepared for it, your hybrid teams may suffer.

3. Caring for mental well-being

Workplace discussions used to solely focus around work-life balance, which looks at how much time one has outside of work, for instance with their family and friends.

Nowadays, mental well-being is gaining greater importance as an issue that leaders need to take more seriously. After all, 81% of workers will prefer workplaces that support mental health, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

More people simply want to take better care of themselves and their well-being, as well as that of others, in their search for a happy and healthy equilibrium in their lives.

4. Diverse teams for increasingly diverse customers

No longer a buzzword, diversity is a strategy that can help your company grow. Diversity in the workforce allows your business to attract and retain top talent, especially important today in the face of skill shortages and greater competition for talent from other industries.

What’s often overlooked is how diversity can help teams better understand their customers. How? Well, diversity improves the ability of your employees to  empathize with customers who might be from anotherculture, another country, or simply have different perspectives. The numbers add up too: diverse companies were found to be 70% more likely to capture new markets, according to Harvard Business

Going forward, diversity will impact on the bottom-line and increasingly be part of the decision-making
process for you and your fellow leaders.

5. Aligning incentives

Incentives are a powerful tool for motivating people. But what if you’re the one who hands out the bonuses at the end of the financial year?

One of the biggest challenges leaders face is aligning incentives at every level of their organizations, from top to bottom, with a Deloitte study finding that 52% of employees feel their incentives aren’t aligned to organizational goals.

The upside of this challenge is that if you manage to do it well, you can create an environment where everyone feels genuinely motivated and committed to achieving your goals—and drive revenue along the way.

The first step is to understand how different levels of incentives work together in a way that’s fair, transparent and motivational. Then comes the hard part: putting it all into action while maintaining relationships with those who report directly to you as well as those who report indirectly through other
managers or peers.

6. Leading creatively

This new world of hybrid work and greater employee expectations means that you need to be more flexible than ever before. For example, allowing employees to run occasional errands during traditional office hours is less frowned upon these days.

Greater emphasis needs to be placed on providing ample and valuable learning opportunities to your employees, such as training and mentoring. Whatever new and complex organizational challenges that come your way, you must be able to adapt quickly and find creative solutions.

Being creative with your leadership approach may not come naturally to some. This is why even those leadership positions must take on their own growth opportunities too.

A Monte Wyatt study found that 77% of participants, mostly Fortune 1000 executives, reported improved working relationships among direct reports after undergoing coaching. That should come as no surprise, given that such leadership training can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to lead in a more diverse, demanding and hybrid world of work, one where empowering your employees will be key to sustaining future success.

Leadership training must be an increasingly important part of your leadership toolset. 2023 is a good year to embark on your journey to becoming a modern leader.

©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd

Photo by fizkes on Unsplash