Be an Authentic Leader

Today’s post is from Claire Richardson, director, the Workforce Institute at Kronos & vice president EMEA Professional Services, Kronos

Just as the new year commenced, we at the Workforce Institute at Kronos put our heads together and thought about what was to come in 2019. From that lively conversation, we shared our 2019 workforce predictions with you via this post. I‘d like to elaborate on one in particular that resonates for me as it underscores the importance of being an authentic leader.

Before we dive in, here is the prediction in its entirety:

Historically tight labour markets and emerging technologies put people managers in the spotlight. With unemployment low and the exodus of baby boomers reaching critical mass, employers globally will face a historically tight labor market. Sourcing great candidates has never been more difficult, and retention will become an all-out dogfight. While an employer’s brand, innovative hiring technologies, and proactive recruiting practices are more important than ever, it’s organisations with the best people managers that will ultimately prevail. Organisations will place an increased focus on leadership development as a retention strategy – especially as Millennials assume middle management positions – and measuring manager effectiveness will be HR’s top challenge in 2019. If we’re right about prediction 1 above, then as AI and machine learning take over mundane managerial tasks, deficits in leadership competencies will be more readily exposed if managers aren’t using that extra time to support and develop workers.

This tight labour market we speak of isn‘t a surprise to anyone, and it isn‘t region-specific either – it’s being felt globally. Today’s employees have options when it comes to where they work, and organisations are finding new ways to attract them. Tactics being used to recruit top talent range from signing bonuses, to elevated flexibility in schedules and shifts. But what about retaining talent?

Have you ever heard the saying “people join companies, but leave managers?” I believe this to be true – you could work for an amazing company that provides all the benefits that are important to you and your family, but if you dislike working for your manager, your day-to-day could very well be miserable. After all, managers ensure their team produce what’s needed for the business to be successful, and if their team is unhappy, productivity and overall success can flatline.

Our prediction envisions the rise of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to bring these not-so-inspiring mangers to light. The prevalence of data analytics and results-driven metrics supported by these emerging technologies will paint a clearer picture of who truly inspires their team to do their best every day, and who falls short.

As a people manager myself, I believe in being an authentic leader – as opposed to a spreadsheet jockey or someone who is bogged down by the mundane administrative tasks that often come with seniority. This means being hands-on with your team – teaching them and showing them that you genuinely stand behind the direction you give and actions they take.

It’s important to be there, physically, with your team in the trenches. Setting goals, coaching, providing insight and overall, letting them know “I’ve got your back.” This will help foster comradery, trust and overall, far better customer engagement and business outcomes.

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