The pandemic has exposed outdated, old-fashioned ways of leading a company. Gone are the days where managers focus solely on profits and productivity and demand employees to “just #$@!% do it.” Today, employees are demanding more transparency from their bosses and more balance in their lives.
Inspiring Hope Through Vulnerability
Leaders need to inspire hope in their workforce. One way to do this is by revealing their own vulnerability. “Vulnerability is your strength,” says Dov Baron, leadership expert and cultural strategist who helps transcend companies worldwide.“ As a leader, it is part of our job to inspire hope in those that we’re working side by side. But what does hope mean? It means a vision of something better.”
The Pandemic’s “Psychological Pause”
When the pandemic hit, some leaders thought they would gain control over their workforce, that workers would tire from working from home and rush back to the office. Instead, workers took control. Baron believes the pandemic created an unexpected “psychological pause” in which workers started questioning their purpose. “The psychological pause allowed us to get off the treadmill, allowed us to stop running on that hamster wheel and say, ‘Hold on, why am I here in that job? Why am I here living in a small apartment in the city?’ So, they moved out of cities, they sold their cars, they bought bicycles and they’re saying, ‘I don’t have to work for that company because I really don’t care about climbing that ladder.’”
Wake-Up Call for Companies
Successful companies quickly pivoted to retain their weary workforce. These companies realized their workers were looking for greater purpose and greater meaning from their jobs. “The purpose of an organization is not that we want to be the most innovative company. Your purpose is what will be missing from the planet if you’re not here,” says Baron. “We know that employees are asking to do meaningful work. They want to work for a company that cares, that is making a difference.”
Leading With Humanity
This new workplace dynamic is forcing leaders to show their own vulnerability. But how should they go about doing this? “It’s pulling back from all the things you think you’ve got to do and going human first, not telling or giving directions first, but being human first,” says Baron. “This empowers people.”
Podcasting Helps Leaders Get Human
With workers showing signs of “Zoom fatigue,” a growing platform to communicate a human-first approach is through internal company podcasts. “The CEO was always this person in a corner office that you never got access to,” says Baron. “But listening to that CEO on a podcast, you now see this human side of this CEO not as a worker but as an employee. It’s not needed. It’s vital.”
Vulnerability Leads to Loyalty
The pandemic has proven that company culture isn’t about casual Fridays or ping pong tables in the breakroom. It’s about connecting with a workforce through shared vision, meaning and purpose. “Let’s create real hope,” concludes Baron. “Ask yourself, where is it that we could go that we’ve never thought about stepping into? Our purpose is fueled by this vision that comes from hope. It’s this understanding that we’re not limited to where we are.”
For more information about Dov, visit DovBaron.com.