What Does the Future of Business Leadership Look Like?

Following 2020’s events, many business executives are hoping to make up for lost time. From missed opportunities to lockdown measures and the need to adapt work patterns, businesses have had their fair share of struggles to contend with. But now that life is beginning to return to normal, companies are considering what the landscape will look like.

While overcoming the turmoil of the pandemic won’t be a simple task, good leadership will help. So, what does the future of business leadership look like and how can businesses adopt better practices when managing teams? These are some of the trends companies can expect to see in leadership in 2021 and beyond, and how business leaders can adopt them.

Micromanagement is over

The days of micromanaging teams is long-gone and leaders today need to adapt their approach accordingly. Employees want to have autonomy and satisfaction that they’re making a difference in the business, but this can be difficult to achieve if they feel like someone is always watching over them.

Your staff want to feel safe in the knowledge that they’re trusted to do their jobs properly and that their skills are being put to good use, and in order for the company to grow and scale up, it’s essential that everyone’s efforts are valued. Since more employees have been working remotely over the past year, it’s been down to those in more senior roles to allow for more flexibility and creativity, which enhances productivity and happiness at work, which in turn increases loyalty.

Prioritising communication

Strong leaders understand the importance of communication, in order to build trust among staff, create a culture of honesty and ensure transparency within the team. Good communication requires an ability to give and receive constructive feedback, and a willingness to adapt accordingly, which has proven its worth throughout 2020. Business leaders need to have strong communication skills in order to learn from past projects and events, good and bad, and question how things can be done differently going forward. This enables businesses to learn and evolve more efficiently, whatever the future holds.

A need for empathy

2020 was a challenging time for businesses, both logistically and emotionally, and it raised the need for empathetic leaders. Empathy and emotional intelligence are key in order to be in tune with those around you, and to create a compassionate work environment. Employees really value businesses which prioritise their needs and allow them to voice their opinions openly in difficult situations, which requires an empathetic and transparent stance from leaders. In fact, in a study carried out by Facebook, over half of those questioned said they would consider leaving their job if their company leaders didn’t demonstrate empathy.

Creative collaboration

Creativity and innovation are key to any successful business, regardless of the industry it operates in, and making way for collaboration is an effective way of boosting creativity among staff. Business leaders of the future understand that having a team of employees who are excited to work together and creatively solve problems is what will set their company apart from competitors, so building a positive work culture is vital.

With more businesses working to a hybrid model, splitting their time between in-house and remote working, finding ways to encourage collaboration is more challenging. But it’s certainly possible. Consistency is at the heart of this, in order to keep everyone connected and working to the same page, along with virtual team building, regular team reviews and brainstorming sessions.

Final thoughts

Business leadership will always have its challenges, but 2021 and beyond will test leadership skills. With the upcoming challenges that businesses face in recovering from the pandemic, leadership skills are more important than ever. From communication and flexibility to empathy, leaders need to have the ability to adapt in order to thrive.

Leaders also need to understand that the new ways of working may prompt different challenges than they’re used to facing, such as maintaining creativity and collaboration among staff when employees are working flexibly. But by making use of online tools and making regular time for team building and online conferencing, there are ways for leaders to develop a healthy and positive work culture that will encourage loyalty, productivity and staff happiness.

Dakota Murphey


Sign up to our free Future of Work Insights Newsletter