The 21st Century Leader- Part 2

So what does a 21st century leader look like, or should do, to be able to grow an organisation to the next level and take employees with? A leader needs to engage with their employees, reach out and understand their concerns and working situations, this uncovers the human side of each of them. Show genuine concern and not a tick box exercise, because believe it or not, people see through this. Is he doing it because he has to, or because he is genuinely concerned? Find out each individual’s aspirations, needs, interests, talents, concerns, and so on.

There once was a leader who said, “To treat everyone the same, is to treat them differently.” This has never been truer, in how we need to treat employees in the workplace.

Why? Because for the first time we have 3 generations, 3 very different generations working together to achieve a common goal in many an organisations, and how they each get to this desired end result is very different to each and every single one of them. What drives one person, might not drive the other. What motivates one employee might not motivate the other. After all we have individuals working for us, not machines, or robots, and when you treat people as such, as individuals, they will produce fantastic results.

Appreciate that, just like you, the people who work with you and for you want to contribute and make a difference. Everyone needs a purpose, that’s what gets us all up in the morning; engage people fully in their work to enable them to use their talents and have a sense of fulfilment and know they are contributing towards a greater cause than the task at hand. How does this task that might seem mundane contribute to the overall performance of the business? If you don’t discuss this with them, if you don’t engage with them, they will never know. Engagement with all employees at all levels is crucial to maximise the potential of an organisation. As leaders we need to learn that when organisations shift from being solely profit driven to purpose driven and focus on purpose conversations with employees, the positive impact that will be created is massive and in turn make the business a force for good.

It is a fact that our organisations are built for the past and not many have made the effort to transform. That sentence alone is a topic for another day, but we as leaders are going to have to reinvent ourselves and our workplaces to suit these changing times, and the rainbow colours of the changing employee. For instance, some employees are fine with getting to the office earlier, so they can leave earlier, some would prefer to come in later, without having to battle the traffic, and leave later. But furthermore, you have those that prefer to have some days were they can work from a coffee shop, or home with no interruption whatsoever, in order to focus and get things done. Shall we control them because we have working hours? Does controlling them get the best out of them? I doubt it? So why not treat people differently if it doesn’t affect output? After all it is output that we as leaders are worried about, not how or where it gets done? Trusted employees will give you more as a leader that you can ever get by putting reigns on them. Organisations and leaders that understand this, and understand that “the office” is no longer the four corners of the building your sign is at, retain loyal, committed, hardworking employees in the long run.

Written by: Zaar Mabuto – Mavundla
Executive Partner at Mindcor Executive Search and Consulting