At 10Eighty, we believe that leaders need to focus on creating meaning and purpose as well as focussing on how to motivate alongside creating an environment conducive to their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. We recently presented the findings of a new piece of research authored by Joan O’Connor and Kimberly Bradshaw. This unique study provides clear guidance on the leadership behaviours that will be required in the future to deliver ongoing organisational success.

“It isn’t just the numbers and the operations that matter, leaders must look at the human impact in order to build the business long-term”.

Collaboration is key and the need to be employee centric, with a holistic approach too. Technology is your friend and agility is key. Engaged employees are energised and therefore agile, creative and loyal. We believe that human-focused leaders think beyond their role, their business unit, and their organisation; they are not afraid to stick their necks out and work in a proactive and agile manner. Ultimately, the role of the leader is that they provide the playing field on which their people perform.

A roadmap for leadership

Our research uncovered five main themes which provide a roadmap of leadership capability. These have shown demonstrable positive outcomes and ensure leaders are future proof. They are:

  • People First – a human-focused approach that takes account of the physical, emotional and psychological needs of individuals in order that they can do their best work
  • ‘And beyond’ Leadership – going beyond the immediate; broadening and reaching out to those outside the inner circle and the function; being inclusive, either in new ways of thinking, collaborating with competitors or in dealing with employees; taking a collective leadership approach
  • Technology and communications – the pace of technological change and how technology and communication enable and engage individuals
  • Agility – agility in action, decision-making and respond in the moment
  • Collaboration – working in new ways with peers, employees and competitors

“We wanted people to feel they were more important than ever to the business”.

People First leadership

The pandemic has been the trigger that has accelerated, in some cases forced leaders to put their people first and centre in their response to what is happening in our society. The People First leader understands the importance of individuals’ wellbeing (physically and mentally) to organisational success. They know that they have a responsibility to create the conditions that allow employees to thrive, and are actively involved in doing so.

“We need to focus on the complete value proposition for every job we do – what does it give back to a company, a client, an employee and the environment?”

Thinking beyond leadership includes thinking the unthinkable and taking a global view, that doesn’t necessarily mean an international but is about being outward-focussed. You need to be prepared to think differently, to collaborate as well as compete, able to delegate responsibility while building trust and recognition.

During times of disruption, communication is really important and an important lesson from lockdown has been how important it is to make sure the messaging meets the needs of the audience. A move to remote working has made leaders really think about the need to communicate and how they do this to ensure every employee feels included and nobody is disadvantaged. Our research shows that those CEOs who engage in regular communication with employees, who communicate in an open, transparent, honest manner with warmth, whilst providing as much information as possible, saw positive results in employee engagement in each case.

Future-proof leaders

“Creating a sense of togetherness and collaboration made it easier to do things more quickly.”

All the interviewees involved in 10Eighty’s research felt their organisations were easily able to handle change, changed the working practices that resulted from the COVID-19 lockdown. All achieved a move to remote working rapidly, demonstrating that when it matters, leaders can move far more quickly than they typically do.

Another positive result of changes to how we work in response to current disruptors is a reported increase in leadership collaboration. This yields constructive outcomes in terms of shorter, more effective meetings, greater focus and removing silos in functional working. So leaders are able to be more strategic, moving things forward at a faster pace.

The future proof leader knows that they must continuously adapt, evolve and develop to stay relevant. In short, their philosophy can be summed up as: It’s all about the people. The payoff is that employees develop a stronger and more meaningful connection to the organisation’s purpose and have a greater desire to help it succeed. They engage more positively with their leaders, are more willing to go the extra mile, and adapt and change direction when asked.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a Co-Founder and Director of 10Eighty. With over 15 years of business experience, I have an extensive and impressive blue chip client base. I have worked with numerous firms working in partnership with the client to understand their needs. My current role involves managing relationships with clients, developing new business, and coaching individuals in their career. I really enjoy meeting new people and have strong client relationship and networking skills. I am passionate about coaching as a means to motivate individual performance and believe that proactive career coaching will set direction, bolster employee engagement and self-confidence.

Find out how we can support you and your people