Three 2021 Leadership Trends Worth Noting
It’s always an interesting exercise to comb the annual articles highlighting business and leadership trends for the New Year. Without a doubt, this year’s research on trends has been particularly interesting because, let’s face it, 2020 was full of unprecedented challenges.
Some challenges, like the pandemic itself, felt incredibly taxing, causing stress and heartache. Yet other challenges, like pivoting to adapt to new norms, proved exciting in that they generated opportunities for innovation, more sustainable business planning and operations, and building stronger cultures around more empowered teams.
From a business management and leadership perspective, here are several predictions we think will go beyond mere trend-worthiness…those that will stick because they’re foundational to getting real business results.
1. Powerful data tools. Per Forbes in a business 2021 forecasting article, one of the biggest trends for 2021 is “Data as an Asset.” It grows out of a couple of clear needs: understanding customers better and more effective decision-making. Technology—particularly advances in cloud-tech—has also played a huge role in both tracking and storing data. Given so much unlimited space, there’s little excuse not to collect, sort, analyze and share it with the right audiences. Organizations are getting this. And they are signing up for solutions big and small, including MAP’s soon-to-be-released MAPapp, a tech tool designed to provide 24/7 accountability at your fingertips, keep employees aligned around goals, and strengthen individual and team performance.
2. “Remote” is our reality. Or, at least what we’re learning is a good chunk of small to medium-sized businesses (57% in this Intermedia survey) plan to keep “remote work” in their business model. As noted in a trend report from the Small Business Administration, investing in technology and other logistical tools to support the success of working remotely continues to be key. But just as important, we at MAP are seeing how employees in all work settings need to experience consistent connection and engagement. Establishing clear goals and controls around empowering your people within the context of this evolving business model, one that may include both onsite and remote workers.
3. Soft skills as a game-changer. As tactical and technological work demands keep changing, leaders are responding by skilling up and training their people to meet the challenges. However, a 2020 report from Training Industry noted a real gap in soft skills, a void that continues to draw attention today, calling upon CEOs and HR talent to support employees with training around leadership and professional development. Given all the stress today, organizations are providing more learning around the topics of empathy, communication, emotional intelligence and resilience. With “sharper” soft skills, today’s organizations have greater odds of overcoming real hurdles and building empowered, high-performing cultures.
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