‘People skills first’ approach for start-ups
It’s a brave new world giving rise to the need for brave new approaches to navigating it, leading it, and conquering it. This brave new world is experiencing disruption and flux at a pace and frequency that is unprecedented and hard to fathom.
And survival of organizations and institutions in scenarios of such flux, calls for a sort of flexing of imagination — it calls for new-age leadership.
At the soul of this change management is managing people and leading an organization in a manner that is strategic yet compassionate; productivity-focused yet ethical.
But, what would be /should be the nuances of people leadership in a radically disruptive, diverse, global environment?
All these platonic forces throw up complex challenges for the leaders as they strive to steer their teams and organizations forward. The interplay of current cultural, economic, and technological realities requires leaders to be equipped with skill sets to manage and lead people that are vastly different from the past.
Leadership is no longer associated with merely having expertise, knowledge, and ability to get work done, but goes well beyond imagining the unimagined and being an enabler of sorts for all stakeholders, specifically for the people who are part of the organization.
The challenge is to create organizations that people are proud of getting associated with. According to research by Deloitte, nearly 77% of millennials want to work for companies they can be proud of.
This calls for a kind of leadership skill set that is ‘people-centric’ & ‘socially conscious’ that can influence the engagement, alignment, and performance of individuals.
For long, these skills have been categorized, arguably as ‘soft skills’, whereas, in fact, as Josh Bersin (a leading authority on talent management) puts it, they are essential ‘power skills’.
The real job of a (people) leader is not be incharge but taking care of those who are ‘in-our-charge’. ~ Simon Sinek
Here are some skills that are central to the ‘new-age people leaders’
- As a leader, focus on creating more leaders than more followers, enable people to own processes and systems
- Compassion and empathy, in recognizing and acknowledging the people, their individuality their choices & constraints
- Getting involved in defining the career growth trajectory of your team that is in sync with their aspirations
- Give them flexibility; the flexibility to navigate their personal circumstances along with professional commitments with ease and without getting judged.
- Have regular 1:1 with your people; create a safe space to build trust, help people open up with their setbacks and errors. Tell them you got their back! The natural reaction to building trust with your team is cooperation.
- Be genuinely involved and concerned about their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Ask them and mean it!
- Move away from the culture of shaming failures and only celebrating successes. Create a safe space for people to own up to mistakes and think about why and how they happened, while you elevate yourself to the role of mentor.
- Create a work culture that helps people derive meaning, value, and purpose from the work.
If you are a founder or the HR head of a fast-growing start-up — evaluate your current programs and support infrastructure for leadership development. I encourage you to define and construct the neo-leadership moments that have the greatest potential to enhance the development of your managers, as well as the experiences of the people who are part of your organizations.
If you are looking to leverage the help of a partner to embed neo leadership (New age leadership) in your organization’s culture & everyday rituals, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org