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Jan 07, 2021

Approx. 11 min. read

The Secrets of Effective Leadership In 2021 and Beyond

Effective leadership is one of the most important prerequisites for a more engaged, aligned, productive, and empowered workforce. 

The Secrets of Effective Leadership In 2021 and Beyond

Effective leadership is one of the most important prerequisites for a more engaged, aligned, productive, and empowered workforce. 

Moreover, leadership plays a significant role in shaping a positive employee experience and building a better workplace culture. Leaders should act as role models for the rest of the organization, and they should inspire people to live by the core company values

In this blog, we will cover the most important benefits of effective leadership, as well as best practices for becoming one. 

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🔎 Before we move forward, download our eBook "Building a Better Company with Internal Communications" and learn more on how to improve communication in the workplace! 

10 Characteristics of Effective Leadership

Not every leader has the necessary skills and expertise to guide people through success and inspire others to be the best versions of themselves.

Moreover, more than six in ten Millennials (63 percent) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.” Consequently, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created. 

Even though different organizational cultures may require different characteristics from their leaders, there are certain characteristics that every good leader possesses. 

Every effective leader should be able to:

  1. Share their vision with others
  2. Keep the workplace aligned
  3. Act as a role model and lead by example
  4. Keep the promise and demonstrate integrity
  5. Communicate with honesty and transparency
  6. Recognize and appreciate achievements
  7. Inspire their followers
  8. Drive empowerment among employees
  9. Encourage everyone’s share of voice
  10. Continuously invest in self-learning, development, and interpersonal communication skills

The Importance of Effective Leadership

As mentioned earlier, effective leadership can go a long way in reshaping organizational culture and empowering employees for success. With the emergence of remote work and highly dispersed workplaces, effective leadership has become even more important. 

However, employers need to do a better job in developing leaders who can really make a difference in their organizations. 

According to Deloitte:


"Millennials don’t see their organizations as reflecting the core values they believe to lie behind long-term success—resulting in a significant gap between where Millennials believe emphasis should be placed and what they perceive to be the case."


effective-leadership-characteristics

This is why many organizations are investing more in leadership development in order to create leaders who can act as true role models to others. 

Let’s now take a look into the real benefits of good leadership in the workplace. 

1. Organizational culture

According to research, 88% of employees believe strong company culture is key to business success, and 94% of executives feel the same. 

Transformational leaders are the ones who define and nurture these cultures, which is why building a positive workplace culture is one of the main priorities for leaders across the world. 

Moreover, positive work culture is linked to higher rates of employee engagement, which also improves productivity and profitability. 

2. Employee engagement

A well-known Gallup poll found out that leaders account for “at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.” This means that leaders can either make or break their employees’ motivation and engagement.

Therefore, one of the main benefits of effective leadership is to improve the most important people-related KPIs such as employee engagement. 

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3. Employee retention

People led by great leaders also show greater loyalty to their employers. Yet, a whopping 79% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation from their leaders.

Moreover, leaders who show appreciation and gratitude for their employees’ work also build stronger relationships with their teams. 

That being said, one of the biggest benefits of effective leadership is better employee retention rates. Moreover, as attracting and retaining Millennials in the workplace is a big challenge for many employers, leaders need to step forward and play a bigger role in ensuring a positive employee experience. 

4. Employee safety 

Earlier, we mentioned that leaders play a big role in shaping and nurturing positive workplace culture. According to research, organizational culture directly impacts the amount of workplace-related accidents. To prove this point, an interesting finding shows that 80% of work accidents occur due to stress from a negative work culture.

Leaders who work in organizations where employees are at high risk of getting injured can have a very positive impact on building and promoting a culture of safety and compliance. 

📚 Also read our guide about how to improve employee safety in the workplace

5. Organizational alignment and employee productivity

Leaders are responsible for creating synergy and organizational alignment within their companies. This is the most important prerequisite for creating a sense of commitment to achieving common goals.

When your employees have a good understanding of your company’s vision and strategic business goals, they are more likely to achieve those goals and be more productive.

However, many leaders could be more efficient when it comes to aligning the entire workplace.

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6 Ways to Become a Better Leader

Leaders are responsible for empowering their employees and enabling them for success. 

Many of you have probably already heard of a saying that "great leads are not born, they are made". Therefore, there are certain skills, characteristics, and actions that can be taught and implemented by every leader.

Leaders need to better understand their employees’ characteristics, preferences, needs, and concerns in order to reach their followers, gain their attention, and build healthy relationships.

Leaders of the future have the skills necessary to prepare their workforce for the future of work and to understand how new workplace trends are impacting their employees and the business overall. 

Yet, fewer than 15% of employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future, and 13% strongly agree their leadership communicates effectively.

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But let’s now take a closer look into how every leader could become a more efficient leader.  

1. Clearly communicate the vision, purpose, and goals

Workplace alignment with the company’s mission, vision, and objectives are the biggest prerequisites for a positive employee experience in the workplace


🎧 Tune in and listen to our comms shift podcast to learn more about the mistakes to avoid when communicating company strategy. 

 


Moreover, 76% of employees believe that a well-defined business strategy helps cultivate a positive work culture. 

Yet, only 22% of teams believe that their leaders have a clear direction for their company.

Using clear, consistent, open, and transparent workplace communications, leaders are responsible for defining and communicating what their company stands for

This is the only way for employees to be able to connect their personal values with their organization’s purpose.

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2. Encourage transparency to build trust

Transparency is a very important characteristic of a good leader. However, only 18% of leaders believe their company has a transparent and open approach, while 37% are worried about their ability to create trust. 

📚 Also read about the importance of building trust in the workplace

In addition, 60% of leaders worry about their employees’ perception of transparency, while 27% are sure that their lack of transparency creates a competitive disadvantage.

These numbers speak for themselves! 

effective-leadership-workplace-trust

Even though trust may be hard to measure, transparency is guaranteed to deliver results. In collaboration with Internal Communications professionals, leaders can work to build more transparent workplaces

Transparency is important because it encourages employees’ share of voice and upward feedback in the workplace. And when employees feel heard by their leaders they show higher levels of satisfaction and engagement. 

3. Be more agile

Agility has become one of the most in-demand leadership qualities in 2020. As business continuity, change management, and resilience are now crucial for organizational success, leaders are expected to quickly adapt to the new ways of working

Moreover, their ability to inspire people is important for driving change in the organization and getting employees’ buy-in with new initiatives, policies, procedures, and technologies.  

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In Deloitte’s human capital survey, 81% of respondents chose the ability to “lead through more complexity and ambiguity” as a required leadership ability for 21st-century leaders, while 44% believed it was the “ability to lead more quickly.”

Therefore, being able to quickly adapt to unprecedented situations such as the current pandemic is one of the most important characteristics of effective leaders. 

4. Adjust to remote ways of working

According to CIPHR, 56% of employees believe that leaders should update their skills to support remote teams. Leading remote teams can be a tall order for leaders, especially those in large and widely dispersed enterprises. Yet, remote work is one of the fastest-growing trends in the business world, and we all have to adapt to it.  

📚 Also learn about how to better connect with your remote employees

Remote work makes communication and collaboration between employees and among teams harder. For leaders, it may seem impossible to reach all their employees regardless of their locations and job functions.

However, the right choice of technology can empower leaders to be better communicators even when they are physically separated from the rest of the workforce. 

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5. Rethink digital employee experience

Today, employees in large organizations use multiple different solutions and technologies. These tech ecosystems in the workplace have become extremely complex, which complexity can often lead to a loss in productivity among employees and managers. 

Therefore, digital employee experience has become one of the most important topics in the world of human resources, and effective leaders are aware of this trend. 

Moreover, great leaders are the ones who continuously look for better technological solutions to enable their people to be more successful at what they do and to have a better working experience. 

6. Invest in employee wellbeing

Employee mental health and wellbeing have become the biggest concerns for leaders and human resources professionals in 2020. This year of change, uncertainty, and disruption has brought many new sources of stress and anxiety to our employees. 

A key component for achieving a healthy work environment is leadership. Recent research indicates that leaders play a critical role in improving their employee’s well-being by decreasing emotional exhaustion – a key component of burnout experienced by 77% of US employees.

Improving Leadership Efficiency With the Right Technology

Employee apps and other workplace technology can go a long way in supporting leaders to better manage their organizations and lead their people to success. Internal employee communication is a common blocker that prevents leaders from making a bigger impact in their organizations.

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Without the right set of tools, leaders’ hands are tied when it comes to connecting with employees and ensuring that the right message reaches the right employee at the right time. Their messages often get lost or buried among all the other communications going on in the organization. The reason for that is the multitude of communication channels and tools that employees use today. 

Therefore, in order for leaders to communicate consistently and to be able to reach every employee, they need access to more advanced employee communication apps

Solutions like Smarp enable organizations, communicators, managers, and leaders to improve workplace communications by:

  • Precisely segmenting internal audiences for a more personalized experience
  • Consolidating various communications channels such as intranet, collaboration tools and instant messaging apps into a single platform
  • Measuring the effectiveness of leadership initiatives 
  • Making workplace communication more relevant and engaging
  • Scheduling campaigns for optimal readership and engagement
  • Understanding the preferences of a multigenerational workforce

If your goal is to make leadership in your organization more effective, schedule a Smarp demo today!

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Written by

Kristina Martic

Kristina Martic

Digital Marketing and Employer Branding

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