With destructive consequences on people’s health and lives, and the future of many companies and organisations, the pandemic has presented managers and CEOs with a significant challenge, their leadership abilities.
Business leaders of today need to recalibrate their priorities. They need to focus on what matters most – the people, a key asset to all organisations. By investing time and effort on the human needs of the workforce, an organisation is placed in better stead to achieve its long-term business goals.
“Being more disciplined with HR has put more money in the bank” as said by Mimmo Lubrano of Sandhurst Fine Foods on our Leadership Unlocked podcast.
The Importance of Investing in Your People
Are my people able to handle the pressure? Who has the skills to cope? Has my team reached breaking point? Understanding the people of the organisation allows leaders to become aware of who is struggling with the organisational shifts and change. According to the 2020 workplace report by the Australian HR institute, only 32.1% of Australian workers in 2020 felt safe to share their struggles at work. By investing time in your people, a trusting and open environment can be fostered. As such, leaders can take action to support their workforce, helping them to become more agile, resilient and confident going forwards. CEO Mario Greco at Zurich Insurance Group believes that caring and compassionate leadership is vital in protecting his employee’s well-being during the pandemic and to help build a stronger and more resilient workforce .
The leader-employee relationship also plays a critical role in a motivated workforce. Research demonstrates that high-quality relationships with leaders help to facilitate individual’s basic psychological needs, which in turn increases their ‘autonomous’ motivation. Autonomous motivation is a form of motivation where people pursue actions that are aligned with their values, goals and/or interests. The outcomes of having employees who are autonomously motivated are increased job satisfaction, strong commitment to the organisation and improved productivity. Noting that Australia’s labour productivity is at a 25-year low, motivation is key to 2021.
Leaders who are able to invest time and energy into people, as well as investing in leadership training are found to strengthen work engagement and boost employee innovation. The more authentic a leader is perceived, the higher the innovative behaviour of their employees. Innovative employees are crucial to an organisation’s long-term success and for the development of creative solutions to protect the environment and well-being of society. With increasing automation, harnessing people’s creativity and innovativeness is a vital source of competitive advantage of organisations during 2021.
Wrapping it Up
The current organisational climate is one of ambiguity, instability and change. Whilst we
cannot control the uncertainty that 2021 brings, we can control how we react to it. In terms of business leadership, this means reengaging the organisation’’s people and supporting them to become more proactively reactive. With a healthy, willing and able workforce, organisational success can be achieved.
‘Leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in our charge’ Simon Sinek