Developing leaders of the future with a digital workplace
Of all the challenges that face global enterprises today, the biggest concern for CEOs isn’t headline-worthy issues like climate change, political instability, or economic downturn. Instead, two-thirds of CEOs are primarily focused on developing the next generation of leaders.
Around 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every single day. By 2020, 50% of the global workforce is expected to be made up of millennials, the largest demographic by a long way. This rapid pace of turnover emphasizes how critical it is to develop the next generation of leaders to ensure that the future of work is in capable hands.
A leader is only as strong as those around them. Surrounding yourself with the very best people, tools and technologies is a fundamental part of leadership, and leveraging a digital workplace to support management can make a big difference not just to those you manage, but to your business’ bottom line. Gallup found that managers who naturally engage their teams, retain top performers, and sustain a culture of high productivity contribute 48% higher profits to their companies. All of these conditions are areas that digital workplaces are proven to enhance.
The benefits of good leadership
The effects of good and bad leadership can be felt across an enterprise, so taking every step possible to develop and support strong leadership is paramount.
Companies with effective management retain their top talent drastically better than those led incompetently because people don’t leave companies; they leave bosses.
Managers believe 89% of people leave their job purely for a pay rise. In reality, 75% of workers voluntarily left their jobs because of their bosses.
Below are some startling statistics that demonstrate how vital good leadership is to your success:
- Talented managers are responsible for up to 70% of the variance in employee engagement levels
- Effective leadership can lead to 147% higher earnings per share than competing businesses thanks to higher rates of productivity and engagement
- Enterprises on average operate at only 60% of their potential due to poor leadership
- Poor management undercuts employee wellbeing, costing US companies an estimated $360 billion each year in healthcare costs as a direct result of bad bosses
What makes a good leader?
Before you begin to utilize a digital workplace to support leadership, you need to identify which specific qualities to nurture. What makes a leader great? What holds weak leaders back? And how can you develop these qualities in your future leaders?
Characteristics of good leaders
A good leader inspires others to gather behind them and work towards a common goal, leading by example and demonstrating the following qualities:
- Confident and decisive
- Honest, with integrity
- An excellent communicator, charismatic, open and transparent
- Empowering and inspiring, a good delegator
- Committed, loyal and passionate
- Empathetic, nurtures talent and is open to feedback
Common leadership myths
“Great leaders work alone”
Working exclusively to the beat of your own drum is a surefire way of diminishing morale. Truly great leaders seek to inspire innovation with regular input from a diverse team, as opposed to dictating from above.
“Leaders have all the answers”
On the contrary, the very best leaders understand their own limitations and realize that there is always room to grow. Great leaders listen more than they speak, take a little more than their fair share of the blame, and a little less than their share of the credit.
“Leaders focus on the positives”
We've all come across an overly optimistic leader before, one that relentlessly points out silver linings despite the reality of a situation. The truth is that good leadership involves delivering a balance of harsh truths and effusive praise, as 72% of people said their performance would improve if their managers provided corrective feedback.
“Failure is never an option”
Success should always be the goal, but as Confucius famously said, there are 1,000 lessons to be learned in defeat, but only one in victory.
“Leadership can’t be learned”
Leaders aren’t born; they are made. Leadership is moulded and forged by the victories and defeats endured on the path to success, not assigned by genetic disposition. A good leader never truly stops learning how to manage and inspire people.
5 ways modern digital workplaces support strong leadership
#1. Improving communication, collaboration, and teamwork
Excellent communication between a leader and their team is crucial. Teamwork and cooperation are dependent on keeping everyone in the loop and working from the same playbook.
A modern intranet is the ultimate communication tool, opening a variety of channels for open and frequent communication. Delivering inspirational or business-critical messages in 1:1 meetings is time-consuming, but reaching hundreds or thousands via your intranet’s social platform, content feed, or broadcast centre is impactful and efficient. Leveraging enterprise social features, people directories, collaboration tools, and channels for knowledge and resource sharing build cohesion and keep the focus on the collective success of your organization.
#2. Keeping staff updated without micromanaging
Micromanagement is one of the fastest ways to destroy relationships among your team. A staggering 85% of respondents in a Trinity Solutions survey claimed that team morale was severely impacted by being micromanaged. This leadership sin is widespread, but understandable – wanting to make sure that everything is correct isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This is where a digital workplace makes life easier for leaders and teams alike. Updates distributed via targeted communication channels, and a remotely accessible, mobile-first platform eliminate the need for constant check-ins and micromanagement. By keeping everyone connected, digital workplaces facilitate remote working and allow leaders to trust and empower their people with autonomy.
#3. Building a culture of trust and accountability
58% of employees trust strangers more than their own boss.
This complete absence of confidence in leadership is, more often than not, due to a lack of accountability. Whether it's taking credit for employee achievements, shirking blame to subordinates when things go awry, or failing to recognize the hard work of your team altogether, accountability is the primary reason that 80% of employees cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as the reason for quitting their job.
Employee recognition tools on your intranet give team members the acknowledgement they deserve, rallying them behind a leader that appreciates their efforts. Blog insights, native peer to peer recognition systems (such as Unily's kudos), and custom profile badges give credit where credit is due. These features also provide a valuable avenue for employees to receive feedback from outside of their immediate network, as praise has been found to have far more impact when coming from a CEO or senior leadership.
To find out more about how Unily supports employee recognition, check out this blog on how an intranet can support a culture of appreciation.
#4. Developing and empowering your team
Digital workplaces are proven to make training more accessible and more effective, centralizing learning resources and utilizing engaging tools such as interactive media and gamification features. Learning and development portals provide on-demand training to employees, circumventing the risk of knowledge loss in an enterprise or team. So, if your data specialist leaves the company, there’s no need to panic.
Employees demand development opportunities. Over half of employees say they would spend more time learning if their manager suggested courses to develop their skills. With a training portal on your platform, leaders can simply send team members a link to kickstart their development journey. Upskilling your team with a digital workplace minimizes skills gaps and ensures everyone is at the peak of their powers.
#5. Aligning people under a single vision
To effectively lead, managers must have the full support of their team. Garnering support requires buy-in from engaged employees, but generating that starts with leadership. The best way of achieving this is to make your objectives clear to employees, bring them in on your vision, and align them with your culture.
A digital workplace platform can communicate these goals with your team through targeted and personalized communications and content. You can also call upon team members to help shape and inform your culture with two-way collaboration and discussion on social features, or by sourcing feedback with polls and questionnaires.
To find out how else forms and surveys can help improve employee experience, read our blog on 5 ways forms can be used in the digital workplace.
Are you looking to develop your next generation of leaders the right way?
For more insight on how to nurture and train your 'next-gen' leaders and further prepare for the future of work, download our Future of the workplace 2030+ guide today.