THE Virtuality of Things (VoT™)
The Leadership VoT™
How did we do things before? Gosh even the old movies have been virtualized. With the recent loss of Sean Connery (my favorite Bond), I clicked one of my favorites, “Dr. No”. Which is your favorite? I encourage you to watch some of these movies from the “olden days” (as my kids call it) and observe how things were done and listen the voices saying, “I hope things won’t ever change!”, Jetson cars, Charlies Angels car phones, etc. Only then can you truly appreciate where things are today. But more than that, I encourage you to think about where things are going in the future. The Virtuality of Things (VoT™) affects everyone-everywhere. How we engage as leaders requires an understanding of the generations to come and expectations and needs of that generation.
We call the means to virtualize or transform disruption. Not disruption in the bad sense, but to truly shake up how things have been done, to present a new way. Change. Does it feel as though everything is changing? If you said yes, then you are correct. Change is happening at a rapid pace. How are you keeping up?
The VoT™ is not just causing disruption within the tools, tech, and geography of the worker, but also the need for a different leadership. Leadership competencies are transforming and morphing into something completely different. Modern leadership style, although varied in competency, tends to lean toward being antiquated and stale. This will not align with the near future workforce expectations, but embracing leadership as a partnership, is in alignment with present and future day expectations. When we hire we should include EQ first, then technical/functional capabilities. How can a person align with the varied EQ on the team? Do you know your EQ?
Virtually building rapport is different, but necessary and understanding how a person self-motivates, self reflects, and how they access inner motivation becomes important based upon how you, as a leader can deliver, and how the collective team will reciprocate. The VoT is causing a shift in how we lead and the qualities that are important when discerning a person’s fit both on the team and within company culture as a whole. Knowing how a person accesses their various emotional states becomes foundational to how they will respond to you as a virtual leader. Although, one could argue that this is applicable on prem as well. The leader/coach model requires actual leadership training in coaching. Through coaching training, leaders become familiar with how to understand limiting beliefs, unpack how people access information and how that can be translated, coupled with, understanding the art of association and dissociation to truly help take down road blocks.
This pandemic is bringing, to the surface, emotional states, that might not have been accessed before in the same way. Fear, isolation, peace, flexibility, to name a few are all being tested in 2021. How we approach uncertainty is also a state that feels altered at the moment. Being able to access, flush out, and repurpose these emotional states in order to re-direct them toward something new is a challenge for many. How can you, as a leader, conduct a self-evaluation in order to be present to the changing needs for those whom you are responsible? Holistic leadership is a competency in the VoT™. Taking into account the whole person and their needs today will align a leader to the individual members of the team. Fear is a big one. The uncertainty of one’s role or place within an organization is looming as move forward post-pandemic. How can you be authentic in your messaging of the plan? Will you be looking at performance? If so, how is that going to be measured?
Allow people a lens into what’s next. Outsourcing? Antiquated leadership hides these decisions under a bushel basket for the fear that people will leave before they are terminated by the organization. Think about that. 2021 and beyond will demand transparency and authenticity from the employer or watch your Glassdoor rating decline.
Transparency, authenticity, rapport, and bringing certainty to uncertainty are the new normals in leadership. The table is turning from company needs to employees’ contribution. Prospective new employees are coming to the table with a syllabus of expectations prior to accepting an offer.
The question of “will we stay virtual?” is one that everyone is asking. I believe that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. We are going to see a new normal in terms of travel and on site requirements. A mix of on prem and virtual events will arise. Flexibility in work locations will continue , while rents and building ownership are under question and review. Compensation ranges and structure will be recalculated due to cost of living adjustments, including working from home benefits such as lack of a commute and the expenses within, etc. What does this mean? Leaders will need to continue to embrace the VoT™. Assess where you are present state and seek opportunities to pivot toward virtual leadership proven principles. Assess how you are doing. Send your team a survey and solicit what can you do better to provide authenticity and transparency into your virtual leadership venue.
As the world lies awake with hope around the vaccines, manage your expectations around the VoT™ Do not assume that everything will go back to what it once was. Pivot and transform your leadership to accommodate a mixed model approach. Lean in on your team and listen to their expectations. But, most of all, take what you have learned during lockdown and transform and evolve into something new.