Skip to main content

Experts Offer Advice For How To Lead During 2021

 


Today, the following expert business and leadership book authors shared their advice for how to effectively lead during 2021. My question to them was: 


  • What is your advice for leaders as we enter what is surely to be a challenging 2021 for most businesses?

Fred Dust -- Author of  Making Conversation: Seven Elements of Meaningful Communication

“There’s been a surprisingly joyful outcome of 2020—quite simply, leaders are seeing those they lead as humans. They’ve seen them wrestling with children, in trying to manage personal and professional challenges at home, more Zoom gaffes than we can count, etc., which has given employers a deeply humanistic view of those they manage. 

“The converse is also true. Mangers, leaders, and CEOs are grappling with the same—noisy toddlers, spouses who are also navigating unprecedented schedules, faulty technology, etc. This recognition of humanity is significant—I myself paused a team meeting yesterday when I noticed one of my colleagues was especially quiet and asked what was up. She explained a particularly difficult conversation and we all stopped and helped her work through her personal issue before diving back into business. We will continue to need this response from leaders in 2021. We cannot lose this newfound sense of humanity of the people we work with. We need to preserve it, design it into the fabric of our meetings, gatherings, workflows. This will have a significant impact on the way your organization and your people move forward into a hopeful 2021.” 

 

Nathan Magnuson -- Author of Stand Out! and Ignite Your Leadership Expertise

“Lead with authenticity, empathy and vulnerability. That's what it takes to build and sustain the human connection that people need in the new year. When leaders admit to their own challenges instead of portraying a strong and stoic model of unshakability (on the outside), teams grow together, not apart. Think of it like this: when an orange gets squeezed, the juice is going to come out one way or another. It's the same with stress. 

“So, let's anticipate it and build in psychological safety measures to succeed together instead of avoiding the inevitable. 2020 was a challenging year and 2021 will bring concerns of its own, but let's come away stronger and more empathetic because of it.” 


Suneel Gupta -- Author of BACKABLE: The Surprising Truth About What Makes People Take a Chance on You

"Don’t revert back to ignoring the introverts. When we're in person, brainstorming can quickly devolve into "shout storming.” The loudest voices drown out everyone else. But in a remote culture forced by the quarantine, companies are now relying more on written thought expression, and people who have otherwise been subdued are now speaking out and being heard. 

That rang so true for me—I’ve seen it happen over and over again not just in a business setting, but elsewhere, too! Friends groups, families, etc.—the way we’re interacting has changed so drastically and everyone feels on much more equal footing. I hope this trend continues!"

 

Jonathan Littman and Susanna Camp -- Authors of The Entrepreneurs Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed

“Seek out specialists. Maybe you have a new venture, or it’s time to pivot to meet the shifting demands of the Covid economy. Make sure you have the right mix of talents at the right time. Sometimes the amazing people key to your launch don’t scale in step with your company. Everyone wears lots of hats at the beginning, and generalists are great here. But as you grow, you’ll need specialists on the team: great salespeople, creative marketers, and robust techies.  

“This also extends to personal growth. When it’s time to step up to become a better leader, standing on the shoulders of others can be a great strategy. Seek the expertise of vetted coaches and advisors to focus on specific areas where you need targeted help. Brian Chesky of Airbnb has done just that in recent years. He started out as the archetype we would call the Outsider, bringing a ‘Beginners Mind’ as a designer breaking into the hospitality space. As he grew into a more effective leadership role, he’s taken advice from some of the biggest business leaders in the world, such as Warren Buffett, who counseled him to ‘get rich slow.’ Reid Hoffman is a board member, and Chesky’s also brought in Apple alum Jony Ive – who spent years collaborating with the visionary Steve Jobs – to make some magic come true in the coming year. Spot-tune your team during this turbulent time, for more holistic growth.” 

  

David Grossman -- Author of 8 Ways to Lead with Heart in Times of Uncertainty and Change

“My advice for leaders as they head into 2021 – or any challenging time – is to lead with heart. It’s relatively easy to lead when times are good. It takes a lot more courage, empathy and grit to lead during tough times. Now more than ever, leaders play a pivotal role in connecting, calming and inspiring their teams. Employees are looking for leaders who can move them through the storms with wisdom, grace and compassion and there are concrete actions all leaders can take to accomplish that.”  

 

Jerold Zimmerman and Daniel Forrester -- Authors of Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters' Business Practices

“2021 will not be a return to 2019. 2019 is gone for good. Apocalyptic events like the 2020 pandemic, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and World War II change the world, often in unexpected ways. One of our grandmothers raised a family during the 1930s. When she died in the 60s as an affluent housewife, she had cupboards full of hundreds of cans of Campbells soup, tea bags, and brown paper bags. The Depression created a hoarder. So too will the 2020 pandemic forever alter our lives. Many transformations are unfolding concurrently: telemedicine, home schooling, online shopping, virtual meetings and consumer experiences.  

“But many changes coming in 2021 and beyond were unforeseen in 2020. The world still faces great uncertainty about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines, the duration of their effectiveness, and the ability of the virus to mutate. Many industries will forever be altered: cruise lines, retail, restaurants, business travel, and higher education. We have no crystal ball, but we have some thoughts and insights based on the laws of economics and the need for organizations to drive towards constructive cultures where employees feel safe and heard.             

Our advice to leaders is to anticipate a new, as yet to be determined, new normal in 2021. We are likely at the half time of this pandemic and it’s time to take stock and to apply sound thinking to a 2021 reality. More than ever, leaders must be relentless and resourceful in adapting to emerging trends. For example, not all employees will want to return to a 40-hour office job. Many will want to continue to work remotely. So be flexible and collaborative with your employees as you reshape a new social contract. Resourceful leaders wanting to keep their most productive people must devise a hybrid model that allows some to work remotely while others are in the office. Leaders should ask what groups in my company will generate the most insights by collaborating in person—feed those groups early as they will process opportunities faster.  

“Be relentless in scanning your business environment for unexpected events and opportunities. Get closer to your customers and design your strategy backwards from their preferences and the problems they want solved. Consider the costs to acquire new customers as a stand-alone entity or by merging with another organization.  Ensure that your teams’ incentives are aligned with the organization’s goals. Opportunistically pounce on opportunities while avoiding land mines.             

“In our book, Relentless: The Forensics of Mobsters’ Business Practices, we detail instances of how relentless mobsters were quick to seize on changes in their environment. Their ability to imagine and rapidly deploy new schemes and products for their customers (while nothing we would wish to consume) should be a wake-up call to lawful leaders. 

“Prohibition created opportunities, and vast wealth to supply banned alcohol. World War II ushered in rationing of basic goods, and criminals quickly began stealing and counterfeiting rationing coupons. As New York State raised cigarette taxes, the Mafia began smuggling in low taxed cigarettes from other states. Crime leaders move quickly to seize opportunities by empowering their high-performance teams to find and execute lucrative vices.             

“Apply the relentlessness and resourcefulness of mobsters (but not their immorality) to adapt to the yet to be known, new normal of 2021 and beyond. Empower high performance teams with incentives to expect the unexpected and respond relentlessly.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

Characteristics Of The Best Leaders

Author  Melissa Greenwell  interviewed many top business executives while doing research for her book,  Money on the Table . When she asked them to list characteristics of their best leaders, those who work well as a team,  collaborative  was almost always first and foremost. The full list is: Collaborative Good listener Asks thorough questions and seeks new information or is curious and innovative Risk taker Sense of urgency or takes action Subject matter experts Not afraid to challenge Participatory Intuitive Wants or seeks feedback Empathetic Respectful

Best New Leadership Book Of 2021

  This time each year, I select my pick for best new leadership book for the year. For 2021, my pick is, Heart First , Lasting Leadership Lessons From A Year That Changed Everything , by David Grossman , published in July 2021. Written by a wise, award-winning leadership and communications expert, Grossman supplies clear, timely, critical, actionable advice, how-to’s and tips for leaders as the pandemic continues to challenge us...and as we get past the pandemic. I selected this book because the book is easy to read, incredibly engaging, and is filled with inspirational and powerful stories of lessons learned by a wealth of leaders with diverse backgrounds. Plus, it covers today’s pertinent topics for workplace leaders, including diversity, equity, inclusion, and culture.  It’s a playbook you’ll want to read and then refer to time after time. And, if you read only one leadership book next year, make it this one . Reflecting on the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, David say

Resolve To Find A Mentor In 2022

Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do to advance your career as a leader. So, decide today to secure a mentor who will work with you during 2022. Make that one of your New Year’s resolutions. A mentor can benefit leaders new to their leadership role and they can benefit experienced and seasoned leaders, as well. A strong mentoring relationship allows the mentor and the mentee to develop new skills and talents, to build confidence, and to build self-awareness. Proper mentoring takes a commitment from both parties and it takes time to develop and to reap the rewards of the relationship. Plan to work with your mentor for no less than three months, and ideally for six months or longer. When seeking out a mentor, think about these questions : 1.  Will the relationship have good personal chemistry? 2.  Can this person guide me, particularly in the areas where I am weakest? 3.  Will this person take a genuine interest in me? 4.  Does this person have the traits and skills I wan

Leadership Lessons From The Book TouchPoints

Some of my favorite parts of   Douglas Conant 's and   Mette Norgaard 's book,  TouchPoints , are these lessons for leaders: You need to have dual vision. You need to be able to address the most pressing need and do it in a way that makes your employees more capable and ready to take on the next issue. No leader can succeed by being only tough-minded or only tender-hearted . The perfect balance is to be both tough-minded on the issue and tender-hearted with people. Leading with heart doesn't mean you always decide in favor of the individual. It just means that when you need to make a tough-minded decision, you are acutely aware of how it will affect the people involved. The people who are the most committed to mastering their craft are often the most humble . That is because, instead of comparing themselves to others, they are moved by an inner vision of what they might achieve. Ask often, "How can I help?"  Doing so at the start of an interaction opens up space f

How History’s Awesome Twentysomethings Got It Together

  Prepare to be enlightened, fascinated and inspired by the stories of some of history’s iconic men and women that show where they were at near the age of 25 . And how they overcame obstacles, defied their critics and forged ahead to attain success.  Author Robert L. Dilenschneider tells these stories of 25 men and women from around the globe who shaped the world in his new book, Nailing It .  You’ll learn how these individuals : Came from modest means and went on to help change the world. Went on to do what put them in the history books. Used their unique personal traits to enable them to beat all odds and persevere. The stories offer some perspective on what young people are experience now. The pandemic has turned young adulthood upside-down. For millions of millennials, what should be a key transformation period, full of adventure, freedom, and self-exploration, has been temporarily halted. Key life events have been put on hold, delayed, or outright cancelled. Now they

70 New Year's Resolutions For Leaders

  With 2022 fast approaching, it's time to identify your New Year's Resolutions for next year. To get you started, how about selecting one or more of these 70 New Year's resolutions for leaders? Perhaps write down five to ten and then between now and January 1, think about which couple you want to work on during 2022. Don't micromanage Don't be a bottleneck Focus on outcomes, not minutiae Build trust with your colleagues before a crisis comes Assess your company's strengths and weaknesses at all times Conduct annual risk reviews Be courageous, quick and fair Talk more about values more than rules Reward how a performance is achieved and not only the performance Constantly challenge your team to do better Celebrate your employees' successes, not your own Err on the side of taking action Communicate clearly and often Be visible Eliminate the cause of a mistake View every problem as an opportunity to grow Summarize group consensus after each decision point duri

How To Be Time Smart

“Four out of five adults report feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it,” reports  Ashley Whillans , author of the book,  Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life . “These time-poor people experience less joy each day. They laugh less. They are less healthy and less productive.” And, in one study, time stress produced a stronger negative effect on happiness than unemployment.   Drawing on the latest science, Whillans teaches us how to escape the time traps that make us feel this way and keep us from living our best lives.   She explains that the  six most common time traps  are: Constant connection to technology. Obsession with work and making money. Limited value placed on time. Busyness as a status symbol. Aversion to idleness. The Yes…and then regret it effect.   Her playbook shows you how to :   take back the time you lose to mindless tasks and unfulfilling chores. improve your "time affluence.” free up seconds, minutes, and hours