Six Leadership Tips for 2021



Whether you are working your way up the leadership chain or already sitting at the top, what it means to be a good leader has changed drastically in a post-pandemic business world. Good communication, empathy and tech savvy are now more important than ever. Effective leaders in today’s new business world are active listeners that not only understand the importance of productivity, but how to respond appropriately and motivate those in the positions that drive it. Leaders in 2021 understand the importance of technology and what it lends to agility but creating a plan that makes sense for the business requires a deeper understanding of how that technology can best be applied to add value to the company. With all that in mind, here are six leadership tips for 2021.

  1. Emphasize the positive. It is no secret that mental health has been a huge topic of interest since the onset of the pandemic last year. As we continue to march ahead into the new year, positivity from the top down is more important than ever. That is not to say that leaders should wear a mask of sunny optimism, but rather that by listening and helping others to see the positive is a morale boost no leader can afford to brush aside. Finding ways to highlight the positive by encouraging employees to “list your five favorite things about winter” or hosting picture contests in Teams is not a new idea but one that should be carried forward into 2021.
  2. Recognition goes a long way, ROI goes further. At home or in the office, employees are working harder than ever to make work, well, work. For your employees, new and old, that have held on through 2020, recognizing the effort they put forth into keep the business running is key. However, CEO Today Magazine suggests that offering a meaningful return on investment is the most powerful gesture a leader can make. Employees sacrifice their time, moments of their life they will never get back and good leaders will find ways to make sure their return on investment is realized, one way or another1.
  3. Be goal oriented. Choose one goal for yourself and/or your team and seek to fulfill it by innovation or creativity. Partner yourself with those that push you to think differently, that don’t tell you what you want to hear, but what is true. Encourage honesty among your team and collaborators and be surprised by what the journey to that goal yields.
  4. Choose your battles wisely. Not every affront is battle worthy. According to Forbes, four key considerations for deciding if a cause at work is worth fighting for are determining if the battle is yours to fight, the difference winning would make in the long term, the consequences of losing and whether you can live with yourself regardless of the outcome if you don’t fight it2.
  5. Security is everyone’s responsibility. Not every leader is in a position to decide the technological sphere within their firm. However, every leader should be actively managing their security and that of those they supervise. That is not to say you’ll be making in-home or cubicle visits to personally manage the company’s security solutions. Instead, ensure everyone is complying with company security requirements and keep them up to date on known threats to look out for. Be familiar with your company’s technology and keep an open mind as it evolves and changes. Lead by example as an early adopter and enforcer.
  6. Lead with emotional intelligence (EI). The new year will be redefined for those in and seeking leadership roles. As working from home continues to dominate the business landscape, telecommuting is shaping up to be a permanent fixture within many organizations, leaning on empathy, active listening and transparency is the only smart play. According to ADP, spending time ensuring employees are able to voice concerns and be heard is essential to sustaining a culture of equality, inclusion and belonging3. This time investment will deliver returns in motivation, productivity, and lower employee turnover which in turn lowers training costs.

The biggest challenge ahead for those with leadership in their sights is striking that balance between empathy and accountability. Flexibility is important while the majority of the workforce remains remote, but boundaries are equally so. Use these tips as a guide, but don’t shy away from bold maneuvers, always keeping an ear to the ground for new, innovative ways to lead through the new year.

  1. Hopkins, Manley. “10 Leadership Tips to Motivate Your Team in 2021.CEO Today Magazine. 21 Dec. 2020. Accessed on 5 Jan. 2021.
  2. Percy, Sally. “How to Pick Your Battles: Four Key Questions to Ask.Forbes. 7 Aug. 2018. Accessed on 5 Jan. 2021.
  3. Greene, Diane. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace – Trends for 2021.” ADP. Dec. 2020. Accessed on 5 Jan. 2021.

Source: MICPA

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