4 Leadership Practices That Could Save Your Business During the Big Reshuffle

As organizations reshape their post-pandemic work environments, a powerful moment of opportunity and threat is emerging. This is a time for leaders to think carefully and act decisively to create new working models that benefit team members. Organizations can take full advantage of this current opportunity and avoid being left behind by others who are more adaptable.

At PwCs Research on remote working in the US, only 20% of workers surveyed wanted to return to the office three or more days a week once COVID-19 is no longer a major concern. This is in contrast to the 70% of employers who want their employees to be in the office at least three days a week.

To get ideas for specific leadership solutions for this challenge, I spoke with Laura Berland and Evan Harrel, co-founders of the Center for Compassionate Leadership

Laura and Evan develop leaders to empower their teams and organizations by leading through the compassionate lens of safety, connection and belonging. “Compassionate leaders seek to foster the thriving of their teams and eliminate organizational sources of suffering. Creating responsive solutions for these times provides a gateway to address organizational needs and employee preferences with compassionate leadership to create successful, engaged teams Berland told me.

Here are four of their top recommendations:

1. Collect data

Organizations must approach employee needs with the same discipline used to understand markets and customers. Survey employees about their needs and preferences. Ask a lot of questions, and then listen. If you want engaged, thriving employees, the culture you design must be responsive to their real needs.

Without a data-driven process, leaders risk misunderstanding their team’s needs. Dacher Keltner has described this risk well in his book, The power paradox. Social intelligence, one of the most important skills that helps leaders rise through the ranks, is weakened by the acquisition of power. In environments that change so quickly, it is especially important to base decisions on evidence.

2. Create an inclusive culture of belonging

Not only is this an opportunity to create a new work environment, but this challenge is also fertile ground to improve practices of belonging and belonging. Ask and welcome everyone’s perspective. When you create an environment that completely invites different opinions and different forms of expressing those opinions, creativity flourishes. Organizational Research by McKinsey & Company demonstrates significant business benefits of creating a fully diverse workforce.

3. Mention the challenges and limits beforehand

Creating mutually successful results requires more than just asking your team about their preferences. It also calls for clarity on what can’t. When you are clear about the non-negotiables, the proposed solutions that will come forward are more likely to be more productive. If the data you collect shows a serious gap between team needs and organizational requirements, don’t hesitate to name that and then ask for help to reconcile the difference. Be vulnerable. To be flexible. The collaborative problem-solving process will yield better answers today and greater confidence and creativity in the long run.

4. Be clear and purposeful in your decisions

As Evan Harrel told me, “Compassionate leaders provide clarity through the way they communicate their decisions.” Connecting your organizational goal to the decision offers two powerful benefits. First, it supports your team’s understanding of how you made your decision. Team members understand that everyone’s preferences or ideas cannot always be met, but they expect to understand why.

The second benefit of connecting your decision to your organizational purpose is that it gives you another chance to amplify a larger message about your mission. Connecting your team to this goal deepens their engagement and focuses everyone on pulling in the same direction.

As we move into a hybrid/external world, leaders face unprecedented opportunities and challenges. By approaching them with the power of compassionate leadership, organizations can quickly and sensibly adapt to drastically changing market conditions. Most importantly, by recognizing and respecting team members, they will thrive with your organization in this new era.

The opinions expressed here by businesstraverse.com columnists are their own, not businesstraverse.com’s.