Leadership – resilience or kindness?

by | Feb 15, 2021

Reflecting on the successes of last year may not have been top of the agenda, as so many organisations and individuals were preparing for better news ahead. Just one month into this new year and there are already signs of progress for celebration. Many clients we have spoken with recently, believe that this year will bring greater opportunity and a little less sadness. Our consultants have been encouraged by this positivity and are working with our clients to build on their progress.

We frequently find ourselves in the role of supporter as well as coach, as we strive to deliver career transition and outplacement services. Last year we found ourselves listening to stories of business disruption, anxiety and personal loss. So many of our corporate contacts simply needed to chat and occasionally “let off steam”. They needed a little more consideration and a friendly ear. Put simply, it’s what we do best – we listen to our clients and we support them.

Yes, 2020 was different for so many reasons, although many of us experienced renewed positivity and kindness. Colleagues and neighbours alike checked in on our progress, as public services rallied around those in most need. We saw a premier division footballer and a primary school deputy head from Hull utilise their individual strengths and determination to get food to school children, whatever the circumstances of their need. Typically, our individual client enquiries decreased a little month on month, although we saw a steady increase in corporate enquiries, as businesses turned somersaults to get into optimum organisational shape. There were difficult decisions and reputational risks to be confronted.

It was a challenging year for many business leaders, yet we have heard stories of compassion and a focus on community. The New Horizons Careers team have been reflecting on what we have been calling the “New Leadership” way – a style of leadership and personal strength which reflects the great things to come out of 2020, leaders who value business agility and resilience, as well as concern for others and their commercial success. Long may it continue. What have you observed about the impact of last year’s pandemic on leadership?

There are some phrases which were missing from our vocabulary last year, although we have not missed the drain on our resources created by travel. Team colleagues frequently refer to our clients’ demeanour, “as they come through the door”, whether that is the door to our offices or the chosen coaching destination. And that’s not a phrase we’ve used in a while.

We are proud of our business reputation and our USP of mobility and flexibility. Our keenness to work in close proximity to our corporate clients and get to know their cultural wrinkles has always delivered huge benefits. It has helped us to tailor and maximise the benefits from our programmes. For example, some organisations simply avoid creating waves of negativity, believing that their people do not need structured or detailed assessment, let alone feedback, unless it is positive. This cultural insight has helped us to help their team members who appear to lack self-awareness – insight which frequently goes hand in hand with lots of train travel and nights away in hotels.

Like so many, we reluctantly yet successfully joined the 100% virtual coaching revolution last year. Many of you will be familiar with our popular web-based broadcasts as these predated Covid-19 restrictions. Our diaries have been freed up for more frequent interactions with our clients (rather than taxi drivers) and we have evolved a whole new dialogue that gets to grips with the organisational context. We have been able to adapt while maintaining our high standards of consideration and thoughtfulness, without the interruptions of travel. We are delighted that our clients have responded with reciprocal generosity, giving us more of their time to get to know their culture, their values and their people.

It seems we are all prepared to give a little more time for the good of others. We are concerned to get it right (no real change there), but we have been somehow kinder to those less able or less fortunate. There is definitely a more obvious concern for our mental health and wellbeing. Last year certainly created a catalyst for this change. We are pleased to be able to encourage our clients (corporate and individual) to remember to ask us for our help before they need it. A bit of a tall order perhaps, but think about it for a few moments. We are simply suggesting that you stay engaged and keep the dialogue with us open.

New Horizons Careers can put together a tailored programme which supports your individual and organisational needs. We will help your managers who are staying to adapt to new ways of working and your people who are leaving with their career transition.

Why not get in touch for a chat in confidence? Call us on 0044 (0)207 831 9843 to let us know how we can help, or send us a message now.