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Key Leadership Trends 2021 | Timothy Lofton

2020 obviously was a challenging year for a variety of reasons.  Between a global pandemic, uncertainty in the market and it being an election year; upheaval proved to be a common theme for the year.  This turmoil has left businesses questioning traditional practices and exploring new means of workplace motivation.  Leaders have a unique challenge in particular.  With employees working from home, leaders and managers have had to develop new means of motivation and connecting with employees.  All these changes portend further shifts in business management for the new year.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the growing trends for leaders to be aware of in 2021.

Building Positive Culture Remotely

Easily the biggest challenge for most businesses of 2020 revolved around making the adjustment towards working remotely.  It signified a major shift in company culture as it’s previously been considered pivotal to keep employees connected through a physical space.  The initial push for working remotely came with positive benefits and negative side effects, like all new major changes.  Regardless it looks like the shift towards remote work is becoming more and more accepted leaving leaders scrambling to develop new techniques for management and connection.  The biggest step a leader can take is setting team expectations for remote culture.  Making consistent meeting times, creating guidelines for etiquette in online communication, and developing clear strategies for submitting and reviewing work are all basic steps you would expect to be followed when meeting in person.  It’s thus fair to make the same expectations known for online work.  

Be Willing To Change

One of the most important qualities of a leader in 2021 will be flexibility, the ability to improvise, and a willingness to roll with the punches.  With a year of stress already under everyone’s belts, it’s no surprise that some tensions are starting to rise in workplaces across the country.  Stubbornness from the top down will only heighten these tensions and reinforce a culture of obstinance.  Leaders more than ever need to be flexible and adopt a growth mindset.  The key lies in your mindset, according to Dr. Frederik von Briel.  If you approach these changes with an entrepreneurial attitude, you’ll be better off for it. 

Managing Trust Erosion

Easily the most disturbing trend of the last year was severe erosion of trust in institutions and in the principles that keep our institutions aloft.  Leaders have a variety of questions they can ask during these moments of turmoil.  “What are my guiding principles?” “How do I wield my power in my situation?” and “How can we reinvent or replace traditional sources of sustained power?”.  Questions like these allow leaders to effectively and honestly assess the situations they find themselves in and focus on solutions that address the current issues.  It is pivotal to answer these questions honestly and fairly with yourself, only you can provide yourself with fair self-criticism in situations such as these.

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