Malcolm Follos writes about the key themes for being a resilient leader in 2021.

What are YOUR themes as a resilient leader in 2021?

I am considering 2021 themes for a resilient leader and in that pursuit am speaking to many leaders at the moment. I think most of us were pleased to see the back of 2020!

All leaders I am speaking to share their reality that 2020 was exhausting and personally challenging. For optimum effectiveness as a resilient leader we need hope! Even the most resilient leaders are looking forward towards 2021 in the hope that it turns out to be a little less stressful. Let’s see….

2020 Legacies – Playground Opportunities

One of the legacies 2020 is providing resilient leaders, a set of emerging themes. These create a ‘playground’ of opportunities for us to explore. I am grateful to McKinsey Trends for the next normal | McKinsey who suggest a few trends for leaders to consider, they include:

Strike the balance between hope and reality

One theme for a resilient leader, is one of being purveyors of hope. We all want to work for someone who knows what they are doing and has a plan. When we are under pressure we need coaching with compassion from our boss, rather than the more common coaching for compliance.

Remain Agile and Pivot quickly

2020 is proving that necessity is indeed the Mother of Invention. So many of us are finding new ways of working, new ways of thinking and new ways of leading. The challenge for 2021 is how to lock this new mind-set. Namely, incorporating quick innovation and implementation skills into our everyday ways of working. Hankering after a pre-Covid ‘normal’ is futile. In some sectors this will never return.

Leaders are required to embrace the opportunities and mitigate the threats the current reality presents. In the midst of every crisis lies opportunity. It is one of the leader’s jobs to spotlight opportunities and search for more if they appear to be missing at first glance.

Balance Efficiency with Resilience

Many organisations are having their market place and commercial dynamics severely tested by the second global lock-down.

The temptation to cost cut our way out of this problem is pretty compelling, however people can only take so much stress before it becomes debilitating. Moreover, the totally demotivating mantra of the beatings will continue until the performance improves.

Resilient leaders need a way to tune into the ‘pulse and pressure’ across their organisations. Keeping this delicate balance in harmony will be an ongoing leadership challenge for months to come.

Cash is King

For start-up entrepreneurs this becomes quickly obvious once the start-up capital runs out. Larger organisations tend to focus more on turnover and profit, however this can catch them out big time.

It is key to understand cash ‘burn rate’ whilst getting that balance between profit and cash-flow. This  is one of the most challenging commercial challenges.

Time to Acquire?

There are many severely injured and some terminally ill organisations out there at the moment. If your organisation is finding ways to survive and thrive, now could well be the time to push ahead and acquire.

You may also  need to diversify to grow. Whatever the strategic challenges you face, acquisitions should be a carefully considered option.

Personal Resilience is Key

‘Put your oxygen mask on before you attempt to help others’ is a well drilled instruction that those of us who used to fly a lot and became sick of hearing!

However, I’m positive that the same advice will apply throughout 2021. Leaders are ineffectual if they are exhausted, stressed and feeling locked into digital prisons. It  therefore makes sense to take the time to refresh, rejuvenate and take care of yourself.

Surely this remains a priority not just throughout 2021 but as an ongoing theme for a resilient leader and pre-requisite for optimum effectiveness.

Reflect and Learn

Without doubt, we are living through extraordinary times. Indeed learning through reflection is the noblest way to respond and grow for optimum effectiveness. Finding a trusted coach or mentor who can help guide and support has never been more needed. This creates the safe space for you to reflect and learn

This article from The Change Maker Group explores how we may react to stress and uncertainty according to our personality types. It is currently stimulating thinking and you will find some good tips here for being able to recognise yours and others’ typical reactions.

Great News!

This is great news for The Change Maker Group as to this end we exist to help and support leaders to change and grow.

This is central to my own leadership challenge in 2021 so if I can help you with your challenges then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Contact Malcolm at [email protected]

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