Want To Be A Better Manager In 2023? Follow These 4 Leadership Trends

October 4, 2022
June 26, 2023
Leadership And Mentoring

It’s not an easy time to be a leader! And that’s because it’s not the best moment to be an employee either…

🥶 34% of people who quit their jobs said it’s because their leaders were uncaring and uninspiring.

😔 60% of employees are emotionally detached, with just 21% feeling engaged.

✋ WAAAAY more than 50% are concerned outdated leadership views of learning and development (L&D) are holding us back.

😰 Employee stress is at an all-time high, and yet only 50% of leaders feel equipped to support employees struggling with issues like burnout.

How do we know? We read the reports that all these numbers came from and have put together analysis and actions to help you overcome at least four of these issues in 2023!

So, here are our four leadership trends for 2023, which will hopefully set you up for a successful year in the managerial hot seat.

Leaders need to adopt modern approaches to learning and development (or they’ll hold everyone back)

In short

Just look at the graphic below! There’s a genuine concern that reluctance to approach learning and development with an open mind will prevent L&D teams from engaging learners.

And without engagement, learning doesn’t happen, which means people won’t access the information that makes them better at their job, and we fail to drive collective performance.

MindTools Learner Intelligence Report

Source: Mind Tools

Why are we including it?

Because the world around us is changing so fast that we have to be adaptable, agile and able to learn at speed. If we can’t do that, we fail to seize opportunities and get left behind as others do.

How can leaders respond?

There’s a common theme across those four responses above: they all indicate that leaders can’t see the value in learning!

Not making time, failing to invest, and still wanting to stick with the old ways, these are telltale signs of leaders that are underestimating how quickly the world is changing.

The problem is, when you still have outdated perceptions of learning, you assume that we’re talking about expensive courses, face-to-face training or webinars.

Well, even they won’t help you keep up with the rate of change! People need information and resources that help them overcome specific challenges as they occur, in the context and flow of work.

And this requires far less investment and time, meaning you can get to the value quicker and change the perception of L&D across teams and organisations.

So whether you’re reading this from the leadership or L&D side, it’s time to sit down together, find problems you can solve in minimal time with maximum impact, and build a positive feedback loop by demonstrating value.

Getting the leadership spark back to inspire and engage people

In short

Uncaring and uninspiring leaders, unsustainable work expectations, lack of flexibility, lack of meaning, and a lack of supportive people – so many of the reasons people gave for quitting their last job are directly influenced by leader behaviour (McKinsey & Company).

McKinsey Study on reasons people left their role

Why are we including it?

Because it seems a lot of people have started thinking “people leave jobs because of leaders” as some sort of cheesy cliché, rather than a very real problem that desperately needs to be tackled!

Those top seven factors above are arguably issues that leaders can directly influence. And they’re even more important given that the current economic situation is not only causing financial stresses, it’s increasing uncertainty for vast numbers of employees.

How can leaders respond?

Ask yourself these three questions about each person you’re leading?

  1. Are there clear goals for their role that are tied to driving company performance?
  2. Is there clarity around what’s expected of them day-to-day and longer term?
  3. Do you understand who they are as individuals and what motivates them?

Once you can answer those three questions meaningfully, you’re on the right track to safeguarding against people leaving for the reasons above.

By having clear personal goals linked to company objectives, you’re creating a sense of purpose and can provide support that drives impact.

That’ll also enable you to set clear and realistic expectations, allowing people to manage their schedule and workload more effectively.

And lastly, by understanding more about them as an individual, you can be more considerate and caring while supporting their development in the right direction.

Building more of the skills needed to address burnout

In short

84% of HR Directors feel that employee burnout is a major issue, and yet 49% either feel only somewhat able or unable to support those suffering from it (despite their confidence in spotting when it’s happening).

Half of leaders don't feel equipped to deal with burnout

Source: Clear Review.

Why are we including it?

Because there seem to be more variables than ever affecting employee burnout! As we discussed in our HR trends for 2023, more than half feel they have an average or poor work-life balance.

44% were stressed in the previous 24 hours, while 23% experienced sadness during the last day.

59% of employees are negatively influenced by their financial situation.

60% are emotionally detached at work.

The thing is, these are symptoms of something bigger and that hopefully gives you an idea of how you can respond.

How can leaders respond?

Getting to the root cause is your best course of action! There were two more statistics in this report that indicate this might not be happening:

Over half of employees are having at least quarterly conversations around performance and their role with managers.

Yet only half feel that their managers support them in avoiding burnout.

If those conversations, many of which are happening every month, establish the causes of stress, concern, and burnout, we’d not only be seeing less of it, we’d be seeing more encouraging numbers than the ones above.

And there’s no set way to get to these answers either! It’s about building cultures and relationships where people feel safe enough to open up about the real issues facing them – both inside and outside of work.

Calendars are creaking and employees need managers to ease the burden!

In short

Employee calendars are creaking under the weight of meetings! Since February 2020, the average Microsoft Teams user has seen their number of weekly meetings increase 153% and the time spent in them rise by 252%.

Why are we including it?

Back-to-back meetings are the norm for many, many employees now and they’re not only battling the stress this brings, they’re probably struggling to find time to perform their role outside of them!

A recent Microsoft study showed that a lack of breaks between meetings was bad for brain function and stress levels. And they experimented by allowing a group of employees to use 10-minute Headspace sessions between calls, which gave them the chance to properly reset, focus and engage.

As a result, Microsoft’s meetings will now start at five past the hour by default! And this is just one way leaders can respond…

How can leaders respond?

At the core of this sits the leader’s responsibility to build a better culture around meetings and lead by example!

Are clear expectations set around each meeting? It’s incredibly easy for meetings to overrun when there’s no clear agenda or goal, but by adding that context ahead of the call, you cut down on dead time and ensure there’s a focus on how it should be used.

Are the right people attending? When we establish that context above, we understand who really needs to be there and who doesn’t. And then we can only invite the people who can contribute and are needed to solve the issue in that agenda.

A short summary can be sent to those nice-if-they-know employees you might normally invite.

Don’t run on blanket times! Realistically, how long do you need to discuss or solve the question behind scheduling the meeting? If it’s 15 minutes, don’t stick in 30! The fascination with round numbers is probably contributing to this calendar clogging.

Remove regular meetings when they no longer need to happen. Let’s say we have a monthly product check-in and that project was put on hold for the whole of November. You no longer need that touchpoint in the first week of December.

People will probably jump on, realise it’s not needed and jump off. You think they’ve gained 25 minutes back, but that’s been far outweighed by the additional stress and anxiety it’s added when they looked at the day or week ahead in their calendar.

Schedule considerately. If Wednesday’s best for you but everyone in your team has a packed day, then you need to be considerate and schedule it when it won’t cause back-to-back meetings for your people. Prioritise productivity and wellbeing above your own convenience.

Read our complete leadership development guide today

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