What are the 10 Key Issues Facing Business Leaders?
What are the 10 Key Issues Facing Business Leaders?
Global business leaders have a range of major challenges on their agenda, from dealing with the impact of new variants of the coronavirus on their plans, to recovery from the pandemic, to cyber security, climate change, diversity and inclusion, as well as addressing the negative impacts of Brexit in the UK. Aside from any political, legal, economic, technological and environmental issues, it’s no surprise that the key leadership and management skills and competencies addressed in Executive Coaching and Mentoring align with those of the top 10 most downloaded Natural Talent Blogs by UK-based and international organizations in order:
The last 18 months have seen leaders face their biggest challenges for decades, as digital transformation projects were literally forced to go live overnight when countries went in to lockdown. The key for leaders was to communicate quickly and calmly the major ongoing changes and reassure their workforce that, despite all the change and uncertainty, they would be looked after. With ongoing change and uncertainty, leaders are needing to role model behaviours, in particular, resilience.
As commuting time got filled up with online meetings, leaders were having to prioritize which priorities they could cover in an extended working day, often spending more than 70 hours at their laptops, working over weekends and not taking annual leave. Covid-19 has become yet another item of BAU on top of already long 'To Do' lists. So, planning, organizing, prioritizing and managing time effectively have become even more challenging and important in order for leaders to have some form of work/life balance.
As organizations try to get back to some form of normality, despite new variants and restrictions, leaders are attempting to get out of emergency mode and in to recovery mode. As Covid has become part of BAU, leaders are needing to carve out time in order to be able to look to the future and revise strategies to recover and thrive.
Creating a positive remote culture has been an additional challenge for leaders and HR, as has trying to create the right balance between managing poor performance and showing empathy. Alignment of work tasks and projects, as well as individual and team objectives, is still the key to business survival, recovery and success.
With leaders working excessive hours during lockdowns in particular, trying to create boundaries between work and home became even more of a challenge. Home became the workplace overnight, so knowing how and when to switch off is key to managing stress and avoiding burnout.
The majority of management, employees and often customers have been working from home for many months, with an increasing number of project teams being established to cope with the crisis. Many leaders haven't even met some of their new hires face to face, or new contractors operating in matrix management structures, added to new suppliers required to assist with remote working and coping with the impact of Covid-19. Therefore, identifying who are the new internal and external stakeholders and how and when to communicate with them has also been a challenge.
Of course, many global organizations have been managing a remote workforce for years. However, those leaders and managers, who suddenly had to lead and manage their teams through the crisis from their own homes, have needed tools and techniques very swiftly in order to maintain engagement and prevent online meeting fatigue amongst their teams. With the rise in Covid cases and potential increased restrictions in the future, remote working looks set to continue for a while, before hybrid working becomes the 'new normal'.
Sadly the impact of Covid-19 has been the closure of many offices and major restructures. As a result, organizations have been looking for Outplacement support to assist departing employees with their transition, but also to maintain the reputation of their employer brand.
Increased workloads, conflicting priorities and remote working have all meant it has been more difficult for leaders to identify what they can delegate, how and to whom.
Trying to create impact sitting at a desk at home addressing a Town Hall meeting has also been an interesting situation for leaders. Remembering that more effort is required to present online than in person can assist leaders in coming across as being informed, in charge and calm.
As I continue to record audio talks on these subjects, it will be interesting to see which ones come out in the top five over the next few months as the world hopefully moves towards sustained recovery.
'I cannot thank you enough for your incredible empathy and common sense straight talking over the past year; you've been 'on call' to support me and my team through the toughest challenges of our careers. We're so much stronger as a team and organization, backed up by your insights and pragmatic solutions.' CEO
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