By | Kerry Siggins | www.entrepreneur.com
As we approach the end of 2021, it’s time to reflect upon just how hard the pandemic rocked the business world. Some leaders are embracing change, inspired to grow their businesses in a new way. Others are being forced into a different way of thinking and acting, desperately hoping that things will get back to normal. Whatever that is.
But we are never going back to normal, and nor should we want to. Society faces unprecedented challenges as we grapple with inequality, climate change, crumbling health care systems and supply chains, labor shortages, the advancement of technology such as AI and polarized political systems. The weight of these challenges can feel both crushing and motivating at the same time. And it’s time for leaders to look in the mirror and admit that the way we’ve been doing things isn’t working. We’ve got to change how we run our businesses, how we treat our people and how we impact the planet.
If you want to be a leader at the forefront of change, the time is now to embrace a new way of leading. It’s time to buck the old system and forge new trends, new cultures and new companies.
As a disruptive executive for a decade and a half, I’ve learned how to lean into the pushback you get when you challenge the status quo. Leading an employee-owned company, I’ve experienced how simple it is to put your people first. And managing the transformation from a tool manufacturing company to a technology company, I’ve figured out how to overcome setbacks and misfires, persevering to bring a vision to reality. And you can do it as well, by embracing these five leadership trends in 2022.
1. Creating a culture of well-being
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), depression causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays annually and costs employers somewhere between $17 billion and $44 billion. This is staggering.
Leaders of the future are paying attention. As we head into 2022, we must create cultures where employee well-being comes first. Change like this starts at the top, and leaders must set an example. Every person on a company’s executive team must be committed to workplace well-being, modeling a holistic lifestyle where top priorities are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. The days of work, work and more work are over. People are craving more balance and wellness in life, and leaders who ignore or resist addressing it will be left behind.
Second, leaders must build a supportive environment that focuses on the whole person, not just the working portion. A supportive environment offers resources for depression and other mental health issues and incentives for exercise and healthy eating behaviors. Companies must offer EAP services that address mental health and financial, spiritual and social well-being. Creating a supportive environment requires an investment in training. Training on how to create psychological safety where employees feel safe to talk about their well-being. Training on how to be more empathetic and when to recognize that an employee is struggling. Training on how to talk about challenging issues. Training on how to live a healthier lifestyle.