How Will You Lead in 2021?

The end of 2020 is upon us and for most leaders they are saying goodbye to an incredibly difficult year. Leading this past year has been one bump in the road after another. Nothing flowed in the way we thought it would for organizations and teams. Although some leaders were more used to working remotely others jumped into doing business from their homes for the first time. Meetings were held mainly virtually through platforms many of us were familiar but at a far greater rate. We shared a new vocabulary of “mute yourself”, “unmute”, turn your video on”, “use the chat box for comments”, “do you like my new background?”, “how do you move from speaker to gallery view?” and “sorry that my dog is joining today’s call”.

Fashion also changed quite a bit for leaders. Blazers, button down shirts and dresses turned into zipper sweatshirts, camisoles, jeans, shorts and tee shirts. Shoes were optional. Leaders’ hair styles went from short and precise cuts to long and out of control shapes. Let’s not mention the color of our hair. Very unique for some.

Our remote offices reflected each of our home situations and that led to discussions about bookshelves and decorating. Leaders even received awards for the best office set-ups on camera. I even was asked at one virtual meeting where was my fireplace? Leaders became identified by their workspaces.

What will 2021 look like? How will you lead in 2021?

Here are six leadership strategies and trends to consider:

 1. Working Remotely Will Be Part Of Our Jobs.

When will it be safe enough to venture out to in-person workspaces? When will organizations begin to open their doors and hallways? Although we don’t know the exact timing of any of these, we do know one thing for sure. Remote working is here to stay. That might look like a hybrid model where we go into our offices a few days a week or work completely from our home offices. Leaders need to wrap their heads around the possibility of continuing to spend time working remotely, away from their teammates. To hold each of us accountable will take focus and commitment.

2. Time To Reimagine and Dream

We’ve had our year end reviews or maybe year end feedback sessions. However they went, the next step for leaders to begin their transition into the new year, is to start thinking about what your jobs and even your careers need to look like to feel forward mobility. Now is the time to ask ourselves some important and honest questions:

  • What was most difficult for me to perform in my job during 2020?
  • What new things did I learn that I wasn’t doing before the pandemic?
  • What are the most satisfying elements of my job?
  • How was I most helpful? Where did I contribute the strongest?

3. Design Clear Goals

Based on your answers to your dreaming, it is essential to set up SMART goals. Remember these goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound. To be clear on what you want to accomplish leaders need to write out descriptions of their goals with objectives. Know who needs to be considered in achieving the goal and have a clear vision of how it will be measured and attained. Using timeframes will enable leaders to map out when to attack each step to stay on target.

4. Step Outside Of Your Remote Office Space

For many leaders, even ones who are eager to reconnect with colleagues, physically leaving their homes may turn out to be more challenging than they thought. Remember there is an emotional piece of being in the world of work again.

  • Acknowledge and honor your feelings.
  • Develop a plan that involves adding hours to your return to the workplace.
  • Focus on the opportunities with being together to brainstorm and collaborate.
  • Breathe and try to give any fear a slight kick aside.

5. Commit To Deepening Team Member Relationships

Leaders never could reach great heights by themselves before this pandemic and they still need their team’s support to create superior deliverables now. To rebuild these face- to- face connections, plan on setting up time to share stories of working from home. Ask co-workers how they are feeling about their return. Ask what they miss most about leaving their home offices. Tune into their perspectives.

6. Identify Ways To Keep Growing

Little by little things will keep moving forward to a more normal pattern throughout 2021. To keep our leadership fresh and engaged will involve new ways of learning. We also will probably need to gain some new skills and knowledge. Ask yourself:

  • What am I missing in my leadership toolbox to be the strongest leader in 2021?
  • How can I gain these skills and additional experiences?
  • What new areas do I want to explore to become an even more resilient leader?

What strategies will help you lead in 2021? Here’s to the best leadership year ever!

Related: 5 Elements of a Strong Team Life