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The ‘new normal’ of leading! How ready are you?

The ‘new normal’ in any business or for any leader is disruption and change and the need of the hour for them is to adapt and reinvent themselves. Leadership has never been more important in these uncertain times. CEO’s are currently operating in a volatile, fast-changing business environment leading to short-term pressure on them to lead the safe restart of operations, overcome supply chain issues, shore up cash flow and manage employees through change. To create and sustain long term success in such unpredictable state of business environment, leaders need new models and new capabilities. The pendulum has swung, and generic approaches won’t cut it anymore. The pandemic has shifted the landscape. Company growth is more volatile. The global, borderless marketplace has rendered old corporate models obsolete. A new mix of generations and cultures has created more diverse teams and perspectives. Technology races at a new pace.

What will define a successful leader in an increasingly VUCA world is a question that struck a chord in many. In recent years, virtually every sector has had to deal with accelerating rate of change, much of it driven by disruptive new technologies, threats of disintermediation, growing competition, and the rise of new market players with radically different business models. The current crisis, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, has accelerated the rate of change even further, forcing business leaders to deal with unparalleled levels of volatility, uncertainty, and the lack of reliable data to back their decision-making.

As a result, the skills and experiences the chief executives gained to rise to the C-suite are tested like never before. The actual difference however lies in striking a balance of strategic and operational skills built on a foundation of diverse experience, combined with the agility to deal effectively with unprecedented challenges and the ability to inspire others.

Agility. Resilience. These aren’t new. Adaptivity, that’s not new either. What the coronavirus pandemic has taught us is that the need for agility, the need to respond to volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, can happen even faster than we had imagined. As a leader, to be proactive and caring for those who work under you is also quite vital. Another important part is to undertake specific training on how to help employees maintain emotional wellbeing and work remotely. An example of this could be remote working. Initially working from home was appreciated by everybody; reduced office space requirement, flexible working hours, and no traffic are undeniable perks, but sooner or later the flaws are going to be exposed, necessitating the companies to find the right balance between physical and virtual working.

The pandemic is an extreme example of unprecedented change, no one can have all the answers because it has never happened before, CEOs with varied experiences is the need of the hour, a mix of sectors, companies, and geographies can help leaders draw on multiple reference points and manifest a strong vision for the business. According to a new report by Mckinsey and Co. another severe issue faced by the companies is the change in customer behaviour and buying patterns.

The most effective leadership styles are underpinned by drive, humility, and inspiration. A leader whose natural tendency is to inspire and persuade instead of control is bound to succeed in these times of extensive business collaborations.

Resetting perspective is the most powerful evolutionary step you can make toward the new normal leadership. The situation we are all working under has changed, and with it, there is a demand for new capabilities to make the most of the talent across companies. Our strategies for growing and shaping leadership qualities need reinvention, especially in preparing to lead in a very different context, with different expectations. By having an open mind, trying and through honest perseverance, we can execute a cohesive strategy that ultimately drives performance through the current storm of disruption to a place of sustained success and create some of the finest leaders our perpetually evolving world desperately needs for a greater and better future.

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