By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Enterprises have been talking about VUCA for years. VUCA, an acronym for the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world of today, seems to be on steroids now with disruption and a rapidly evolving business environment. The pandemic has contributed further to this VUCA environment, leading us into the future of work, where the lines dividing the digital and the physical are blurred. 

As the workforce and the workplace digitally transform, leadership models have to evolve as well, to remain effective and relevant in this new world. In today’s complex and challenging environment, leaders not only have to make sound business decisions that increase profitability, but also focus deeply on how their leadership is experienced, and how they can make their key stakeholders that include the employees, customers, and investors, feel more valued.

The transition to this digital world is to drive organizational agility, adaptability and enable customer-centricity. Along with these benefits, digital transformation can deliver unforeseen risks and unanticipated costs if organizational leaders do not alter how they exert influence, power, and control. 

Successful organizational digital transformation is only complete when leaders can transform themselves, measurably. In this digitally transformed world, the new bottom line demands the leadership’s own affective digital transformation – one that places equal importance on engagement, purpose, empathy, and fairness as other parameters of data-driven agility or efficiency and productivity.

The leadership transition challenge

Given the changing times, organizations need to revamp their leadership development initiatives and make them more suited to fit this ever-evolving world. The leader’s action or inaction can significantly influence the course of a business. Yet, despite high stakes, leaders are underprepared and under-supported during the transition.

The move towards becoming impactful virtual leaders is a significant transition point for leaders of today. Navigating this transition successfully with the right tools, to lead the digital workforce can influence organizational fortunes significantly.

Research shows that while leadership transitions are important, they are hardly easy. 

Even in the good old days, leaders ranked organizational politics as a big hurdle that impacted successful transitions. 68% flounder on issues related to politics, culture, and people, while 67% of leaders wish they had moved faster to change the culture.  

The rules of engagement have changed dramatically, as has the pace of change, client and employee expectations coupled with digital progress. So much so that it makes sense to follow Marshall Goldsmith’s advice, “What got you here, won’t get you there”.

As we move deeper into VUCA and a digital world, the need for leadership transition from being a remote boss to a virtual leader is only going to increase. According to research, most leadership development programs fail, as leaders do not feel appropriately supported as new leaders. Almost 74% of leaders in the US and 83% globally feel that they are underprepared for their roles. As such, organizations need to revamp their leadership development programs to become relevant for this shape-shifting world of work.  

Managing the leadership transition to lead successfully in a digital world needs organizations to provide greater support to their leaders and move their development programs away from the usually followed ‘hands-off’ approach.

Leadership development for the digital world needs an almost complete rewiring of traditional approaches of the directive and authoritative leadership styles and has to account for the individual development needs of the leaders.

Why Peer Coaching leads the way?

Cervantes once said that “to be prepared is half the battle won”.  

Successful leadership transitions in this digital age are a marriage of both.

Digital work has different demands from leaders. To be an effective leader in this dynamic world, along with technical knowledge, leaders need to be more mindful, empathetic, resilient, impactful, and agile.

With traditional models of leadership failing to hold water to today’s relevance, developing leaders require helping them cultivate new perspectives on leadership. 

  • Organizations need to create the right channels and provide the right tools that assist leaders in identifying effective leadership styles and the blind spots in their leadership. 
  • Leaders need to adapt to the challenges that organizations face in a digital environment and go on a journey of learning to lead themselves and then translating that knowledge to lead others and forming effective collaborations.
  • Leaders need the insights and the skills to overcome the challenges of the existing leadership culture and develop the right perspectives to design the appropriate strategies that translate into impactful outcomes in a digital world.

Peer Coaching becomes the antidote to leadership inertia – an essential to thrive in a digital landscape across an organization that is no longer siloed and bureaucratic and no longer responds to the and command-and-control models. 

Peer Coaching assists in leadership transitions as it:

  • Helps leaders develop the power skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, communication, critical and strategic thinking, and self-awareness, etc.
  • Assists leaders identify and develop the traits to become adaptive leaders. 
  • Develops autonomy to be innovative while providing the guardrails to prevent chaos.
  • Identifies authentic leadership styles and develops the language to communicate their styles with impact, emphasis, and authenticity. 
  • Helps leaders become ‘complete’ leaders. Most leaders are ‘incomplete leaders’ who excel at one thing and struggle with another. Navigating through these gaps along with developing the capability to understand and communicate their unique way of leading based on experience, values, strengths, and personality; is critical to adapt in the digital world. 
  • Improves ‘sensemaking’, an essential quality for a rapidly evolving and digital work environment. Satya Nadella of Microsoft has been a sense-maker throughout his Microsoft stint. He learned this skill by frequently changing jobs. Organizations can leverage peer coaching to help their leaders develop the skills to improve sensemaking. It helps them identify and assess what additional sensemaking they need to do to stay in step with the changing market conditions, business models, workforces, and technologies.   
  • Helps digital leaders identify ways to inspire their team members for engagement and to secure buy-in. While technology connects teams, the screens can create barriers that inhibit connection. Peer coaching helps digital leaders build transparency, integrity, and empathy to evaluate strategies to overcome technological barriers and to connect with team members with authenticity.
  • Provides leaders with the support to navigate the ‘Age of Accelerations’ where change is inevitable and invariably faster. In this age, emerging as a transformational leader who inspires the workforce to enact organizational transformation needs to develop specific power skills. Peer coaching can make this transition easier and more effective by influencing behavioral shifts necessary to drive change.

Leadership development is imperative to align with the ever-evolving leadership fundamentals in the digital age.

Leadership development programs now provide crucial leadership support by providing clarity, support, and direction to help them communicate with purpose, create a compelling vision, decipher complexity with ease and energize, and inspire everyone with an inclusive vision. 

With Peer Coaching, organizations can help leaders make the necessary behavioral shifts needed to become more adaptable, handle higher pressures with ease and act with agility.

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered peer coaching platform can revamp your leadership development initiatives and help you build leaders who will help your organization thrive.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Organizations that adopt a growth mindset are better prepared to deal with disruptions with agility and are more resilient than organizations that don’t. 

This is because a growth mindset sets attitudes and behaviors that push for constant improvement. It encourages individuals to embrace change and imbibe a belief that all people are capable of learning, developing, and ultimately, growing.

A growth mindset almost seems like the magic bullet – one that promises to make the enterprise highly functional, forward-thinking, solution-driven, and progressive. But a growth mindset is an organizational value that has to permeate across the length and breadth of the organization. It has to be distilled into the very DNA of the organization. For that, it has to be seamlessly integrated into the organizational value system. This can only be achieved with Peer Coaching.

The need for a growth mindset 

People with a growth mindset are more adaptable and work through obstacles and challenges without losing enthusiasm. They bounce back from failures, and are more resilient when it comes to facing setbacks and difficult situations. They respond better to feedback and even view criticism as a learning opportunity. 

Overall, people with growth mindsets have overall higher achievements since their achievements are fueled by their desire to learn and improve. A fixed mindset culture, the antithesis of a growth mindset culture, is based on the belief that native ability and personal traits are fixed and cannot be changed. 

A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that everything such as talent, intelligence, and ability, can be developed through curiosity, learning, and discipline.

Research shows, Employees with a growth mindset are:

  • 47% more likely to see their colleagues as trustworthy 
  • 65% more likely to say their companies support risk-taking
  • 49% more likely to say their companies foster innovation; and 
  • 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to their companies 

All of these parameters coincide with higher returns. More engaged employees with an elevated employee experience and a culture of informed risk-taking and innovation, become the by-products of this approach as well. 

Peer Coaching and Growth Mindset – a holy matrimony 

As organizations move away from the reactive annual performance review, creating the right feedback mechanisms becomes essential to drive continuous improvement. Constructive feedback is a catalyst for growth. However, this feedback needs to be timely, contextual, and highly relevant for it to drive behavioral change. Organizations also realize that today’s high-performance and hybrid workplace needs a different set of skill sets and operating mechanisms to drive productivity, efficiency, and innovation.

The Future of Work is here, and it demands change

The changing workplace needs organizations and employees to become more creative and agile in their thoughts and approaches. This could demand an unlearning of preconceived mindsets and learned behaviors. It could require a shift in the way an employee processes situations and events, or demand a greater understanding of behaviors and traits, to promote teamwork and fuel inclusion & diversity initiatives.  

In this competitive environment, Peer Coaching helps in driving growth mindsets in employees. This is because it is an informal and yet, structurally organized learning program that provides timely information and delivers enablement at work. 

Peer Coaching leads to more meaningful conversations between the coach and the learner and helps switch the negative perception associated with feedback. 

Traditionally, feedback is a term shrouded with negativity. Peer Coaching to develop growth mindsets addresses this very barrier to growth, and creates the appropriate channels that make seeking help and direction more acceptable. 

It helps in rewiring old mindsets to progress towards one that is more open to learning by being more accepting of challenges and shortcomings and becoming more action-driven in enabling change. 

Peer Coaching works in developing a growth mindset primarily because it doesn’t concentrate only on dumping feedback or information on a learner. Unlike a traditional training program on growth mindset, where an employee will be a passive receiver on the tenets of ‘how to develop a growth mindset’, Peer Coaching asks the question, “what is keeping you from adopting a growth mindset”?

Peer Coaching helps take the learner from exploration comes discovery. It works in developing growth mindsets because it is:

  • Exploratory: Peer coaching is a process of exploration. It is about the discovery of positive traits and avenues of improvement. Peer coaching allows employees to discover the exact pain points in their resume of attitudes and helps them contextually understand how these skill shortfalls impede their career and growth paths. 
  • Reflective: Peer coaching is also reflective and, hence, contributes more impactfully towards developing growth mindsets. Well-designed peer coaching programs integrate feedback into learning mechanisms and increase their intrinsic motivation to learn and perform. 
  • Contextual: Peer coaching is a highly contextual learning and development program and targets the exact learning/development needs of employees. The context can be discovered from data generated from behavioral analysis tests or 16 personality factor assessment tests instead of good old guesswork. This data-backed peer coaching approach makes coaching plans relevant for the learner. They also adopt a more open method towards learning, making it more impactful. 
  • Continuous and informal: The informal and continuous nature of peer coaching also makes it perfect to drive a growth mindset amongst employees. Peer coaching encourages the learner to seek feedback and helps them own their learning. Feedback is also timely, regular, and data-backed to help it drive behavioral change by developing intellect and situational understanding of circumstances. Further, concerns such as fear of criticism or perceived feedback that impede learning (because it makes an individual feel threatened and creates mind blocks that block the ability to listen and learn) are also laid to rest with peer coaching.

In Conclusion

Change takes time. It cannot come overnight when people have been operating with fixed mindsets. Neither can a growth mindset be entrenched rapidly and immediately. Developing a growth mindset is a process that demands a paradigm change, one that needs a complete realignment of limiting thoughts and thinking patterns. 

Developing a growth mindset is hard. It is harder when you want to distill it across the organization and integrate it into the value system. It is not unusual to backslide into fixed mindset actions even after attending growth mindset training. Peer coaching becomes the antidote to this by putting the correct checks and balances in place and ensuring timely intervention, continuous dialogue, and appropriate support when the learner wants it, where she wants it. 

Are you interested in discovering the power of peer coaching to develop a growth mindset across your organization? See how Numly’s™ AI-powered peer coaching platform can power up your initiatives. 

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

In today’s fast-moving and increasingly competitive world, standing still is equivalent to moving back. Competitive advantage can never be guaranteed, and disruption is a constant. Digital technologies bring in organizational stability and become the cause of increased competition and employee turnover, especially as employment doesn’t remain limited by physical proximity. Then there is the world of work that has moved, somewhat prematurely, into the Future of Work leading to the rise of remote work and hybrid workplaces as a response to the pandemic. 

Organizations are looking for ways to manage constant change and disruption while keeping employees engaged in this hybrid work model. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure equitable distribution of knowledge seamlessly across the organization. 

For this, organizations have robust learning and development plans and training initiatives to help their employees. However, along with these initiatives, organizations need to focus on creating a learning culture that is steeped in knowledge sharing. 

The importance of knowledge sharing and what impedes it

In these digital workplaces, the concept of knowledge sharing becomes critical to develop a more unified, connected, and engaged workforce. Knowledge sharing is an activity through which knowledge and expertise are exchanged amongst colleagues and teammates. However, there is a certain cultural resistance when it comes to knowledge sharing. 

This is usually because knowledge is not relegated to information consumption alone. It is also about the “how” and “why” and the complete experience behind something. Knowledge sharing is more than information exchange. It is about ensuring that employees become experts armed with the knowledge that goes beyond basic information. 

Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. Creating channels that remove silos and enable smooth knowledge sharing ensures greater innovation capabilities, a more productive workforce, faster problem solving, higher levels of collaboration, and more individual experts. 

Knowledge sharing, given its impact, should ideally be a part of the organizational knowledge management strategy. However, most organizations look at knowledge sharing linearly…one that is limited to simple documenting and creating some knowledge-sharing articles. 

However, the environment of constant disruption, rising competitiveness, and the consequent need for increased resilience demand that organizations take calibrated steps to create and preserve knowledge across evolving workforces. The objective is to create a workforce that can link knowledge with action to drive value. This can only happen with peer coaching.

Peer coaching eliminates the barrier to action 

To effectively implement a culture of knowledge sharing it is essential to embed it into the organizational culture, spanning from the junior-most to the senior-most individual. 

This can only be achieved when there is a systematic shift in perceptions and learned behaviors. 

Driving such a shift of behaviors can only happen with contextual learning, consistent reinforcement of new learnings, and timely feedback. It requires knowledge sharing to become an integral part of the knowledge management process. This can happen organically within an organization by building a culture of peer coaching.

Peer coaching is a non-judgmental process where two people of equal status actively help each other to solve specific tasks or issues using simple, straightforward advice and a mutual desire to be helpful.

Peer coaching works in driving organizational knowledge management because, – 

It is data-driven and contextual

Organizations can drive highly contextual and relevant peer coaching programs to help employees navigate the skills gap or performance challenges they experience. Using tests such as behavioral analysis tests or 16 personality factor tests, organizations can adopt a data-driven approach to drive peer coaching across the organization. 

People are more responsive to contextual information because of which peer coaching becomes more compelling in overcoming resistance to change. 

It reaffirms learning and drives behavioral shifts

Peer coaching is an informal process that occurs cyclically. It can be an effective tool to reaffirm learning and share knowledge in an organized and systematic manner. Since peer coaching can become a part of a larger learning setup, it can be easily leveraged to drive better learning outcomes with repetition. 

Peer coaches are also change-enablers since they are a part of the organization and are employees themselves with the relevant experience. Because of this, their suggestions become more relevant, help in building greater understanding, become more welcome and are easily put into practice.

Peer coaching breaks down the resistance to change and helps in driving behavioral shift by reaffirming learning, builds accountability, and automatically improves outcomes. 

Peer coaching promotes knowledge sharing and continuous learning 

By establishing a strong peer coaching network, an organization sets the tone for learning and establishes it as a part of its core philosophy. Creating the network and providing a platform to confidently and confidentially reach out to seek help to close learning gaps automatically encourages people to take charge of their learning. Building such a network promotes a culture of sharing and encourages those with elevated skills to upskill those in need. 

Providing a platform to connect with coaches according to skill not only closes the skills gap but also encourages employees to ‘pay it forward.’ With peer coaching, organizations can build the peer mindset and make learning endemic to the organization. It builds learning and coaching into the very fabric of the organizational culture and ensures that tribal knowledge does not filter out of the organization but flows through it seamlessly. Since it promotes organic exchange, it reduces the resistance towards change. 

Finally, peer coaching establishes the network that ensures knowledge is distributed evenly and equitably across the organization and delivers enablement and empowerment when work happens. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered peer coaching platform can help your organization elevate knowledge management and make it a part of the company culture. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

Having a diverse workforce is essential in today’s corporate environment. But it’s not as easy as just deciding to make inclusive hires. A Forbes study indicated that a majority of corporate diversity programs haven’t yielded desired results. Around 75% of conventional diversity and inclusion programs have been failing consistently. Thus, it’s essential one must also carefully plan and execute a good DEA program. But how? How do we fight our subconscious biases? How can we create a plan that suits everyone? 

Possibly, there are two major problems with current DEI programs.

Problem 1: They are inauthentic

An article in the Economist stated that 12 of the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from Human Resources, and I’m here to organize a diversity workshop.”!!

Jokes aside, the statement points towards a general distrust of HR diversity initiatives. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, companies struggle mainly with finding out what the inclusivity problems are. They found that managers are pushed by a fondness for taking action and finding solutions without understanding the actual issues. Their DEI programs are usually reactionary measures introduced after a specific incident or event. That comes across as inauthentic. 

They forget to engage their employees in effective two-way communication. They don’t take the necessary steps to educate the relevant people on measures being undertaken by the organization. To make genuine programs that will create a long-lasting impact on the learners, initiatives must center themselves around thorough research. While this may take time and resources to conduct in the short term, it will save the organization money, time, and energy in the long run. Evidence suggests that organizations constantly invest heavily in diversity training but with little results. 

Problem 2: They create a sense of inferiority

Normally, learners feel that they’re being lectured to. Studies show that ‘training’ and ‘coaching’ are terms that employees don’t like. They imply mandatory and remedial programs, which rob learners of a sense of freedom and instill a feeling of failure on some level. Instead, programs must make employees feel they are being presented an opportunity to grow with equity. Programs must focus on teaching behavioral and critical skills which will nurture inclusion and collaboration. It’s time for organizations to create a holistic approach that doesn’t make learners feel like they’re being spoken down to.

Why 75% of conventional diversity and inclusion programs have been failing consistently? 

Let’s take a look at some of the major DEI obstacles – 

Unconscious Bias

Many companies want to make DEI training voluntary exercises, and not compulsory programs. Doing so has shown improvement in employee participation in such programs. Consecutively, as per a study, there was an increase of 9 to 13% in black and Hispanic men and Asian-American men and women in top management roles. One factor to consider is that there are more benefits of such training for those who already show advanced skill competencies. Employees with low-skill competencies may feel alienated, as they may not be suitable to give training. In such a case, individuals with high competency levels will evolve into role models for other organizational members. If low-skill employees fail to evaluate competency in diversity, they will grow into accepting their errors. 

Gender Bias

A huge majority of men accept that teams with a healthy representation of women can perform better. But there is a lack of awareness amongst one-third of men. They are unresponsive to the challenges faced by women leaders. 28% don’t agree that women are more prone to difficulties when it comes to top management roles, despite having equal skills and qualifications.

Racial Biases

A surprising number of people aren’t aware that they have racial and ethnic biases. These are the people most resistant to DEI programs based on racial discrimination. There has to be a shift in this mindset, and the responsibility for such lies on leaders and managers. They must raise awareness by using psychologically protected spaces to create safe listening experiences. That will increase empathy as well. 

Manager-focused Training 

Most organizations have diversity training programs for their managers. But that’s very counterproductive. It breeds resentment and reflects poor diversity. It is important to have consistent leadership support for employing minorities. It has to be followed through with a plan to ensure inclusivity in key decision-making promotions and promotions to executive levels. 

Peer Coaching – The Magic Bullet 

The sure-shot way to overcome these two challenges in the form of peer coaching. Yes, I’d mentioned that employees don’t like the word ‘coaching’ – but ‘peer coaching’ is different. The processes themselves vary greatly, despite the two being used interchangeably. Conventional coaching creates a one-way mode of communication, from coach to learner. But peer coaching is a process where everyone involved learns and grows. It’s mutually beneficial, confidential, and structured. The process helps identify and measure skill gaps without making anyone feel uncomfortable. 

Peer coaching also helps create realistic benchmarks. Using these, one can quantify the success of each measure. Peer coaching mitigates the negative impact of learning and development programs. 

  • Using a comprehensive framework, peer coaching helps in changing behaviors through skill exchange. It can address all the DEI goals. Organizations that used peer coaching were more successful at navigating change when compared to competitors. 
  • Peer coaching helps create awareness and eliminate subconscious biases on gender. It helps create a culture of inclusion for women where they are systematically and actively included in succession plans. Peer coaching can be supplemented with women’s leadership development programs to build conviction.
  • To tackle the racial biases, the solid antiracist organizational culture and top leaders’ behavioral changes need to be guided by peer coaching. All these aspects together can help in augmenting individual attitudes and institutional policies.    
  • Peer coaching initiatives can be molded to be effective for different levels of organizational leadership. It can help leaders assess both personal biases and general biases that hinder inclusivity implementation. Inclusive work cultures empower employees with opportunities and the space to present contradicting views. They also encourage questioning deep-rooted mindsets without a threat to their sense of relevance. Peer coaching helps break hierarchical barriers. It enables teams with cultural or other generic differences to collaborate on projects that proliferate cross-cultural competence.

Robust peer coaching initiatives are effective methods for enabling diversity and inclusion. Both external and internal intervention coaching delivers forward-thinking inclusion tools that combat discriminatory behaviors. 

Download this whitepaper on ‘Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Should Be A Business Imperative’ – it discusses in detail the deficiency in diversity and inclusion efforts, how a shift in mindset can reshape the future of the workplace, and how comprehensive and discerning coaching programs are critical in creating a cornerstone for a collective understanding of DE&I.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

The old way of being a manager is over. No longer can managers drop orders from their place of position and expect people to obey. Command and control methods of leading teams can no longer ensure highly motivated and productive teams and are not conducive to employee engagement as well. 

Organizations also have experienced a structural shift in the way work is conducted owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world of work embraced remote work and is now moving towards a hybrid environment, we are looking down the barrel of a long-term shift on how managers keep their teams performing optimally.

This shift has also made the manager and employee relationship asynchronous. With managers getting lesser visibility into the everyday activities of their team members, the role of the managers must shift from being directive and outcome-driven to being more pastoral and collaborative. 

The Motivation Crisis 

Along with all sorts of crises, the pandemic also brought in the motivation crisis at work. 

Recent research revealed that 44% of employees were struggling at working because of a lack of motivation. A lack of communication or connection with others impacted 21% and had a direct impact on their performance and productivity. 

While the early days of the pandemic were spent in figuring out how to keep the lights on, the attention now needs to turn towards identifying ways to help employees remain invested and motivated at work and connected with the organization. The role of the manager is of critical importance here since they are the bridges connecting the organization with the employee. 

The Technology Acceleration

Organizations invested in technology to monitor employees during the pandemic to accommodate the shifts that emerged because of the pandemic. Digital solutions made it easier to collaborate while scheduling software, AI-enabled auditing tools, and automation were leveraged to deliver enablement at work in a location-agnostic manner. 

The acceptance of technology and the pace of technology development has accelerated rapidly. With this acceleration, organizations are becoming more open to automating traditional tasks such as assigning work or nudging productivity…tasks that were historically done by managers.

Shifting Employee Expectations 

Employees expect their managers to help them with their workplace activities. But, they also want to know that their managers are available to provide the support needed to have an elevated life experience, not just employee experience, since work and life are now seamlessly integrated.

The Culture of Empathy 

Building empathy in managers is also becoming an organizational prerogative as it is now considered ‘the’ skill needed to lead successfully in the new work environment. However, according to a 2021 Gartner survey of 4,787 global employees assessing the evolving role of management, only 47% of managers were ready to lead with empathy.

Leading with empathy in the hybrid workplace also becomes an essential managerial trait as it helps managers contextualize performance better. Empathy helps managers transcend understanding and helps them walk in the shoes of their team members. With empathy, managers can build high-performing, engaged, and inclusive teams – something that is the need of the hour. 

The Evolution of Managers

The role of managers has evolved and involves more than just winning the numbers game and managing workflows. This new work environment demands evolved managers whose primary role is that of an enabler. Both new and experienced managers need to bring about a strategic shift in the way they manage people, lead with empathy, and build trust bridges across the organization. 

Experienced managers need to now understand and identify new ways to connect and effectively communicate with their team members, identify their needs proactively and help them progress along their career paths. They need to become the enablers of productivity, rather than be the keepers of productivity. They have to help their team members remain on the path of growth by enabling contextual coaching and helping them build a network in the virtual environment. At the same time, they also must enable the same for themselves. Experienced managers need to proactively identify their critical skill gaps and work on closing them.

New managers need help to settle into their new roles. It can be infinitely hard to build networks and connections in a virtual environment. Along with this, many new managers need a little hand-holding to manage responsibilities such as developing people, creating accountability, driving execution, and applying their EQ to lead with empathy. 

Additionally, both new and experienced managers need to develop individual and team resilience to contribute towards building organizational resilience. 


The Road Ahead

Organizations realize that the training and development needs of their managers have evolved. Just like how organizations accommodated the shift from the physical to the virtual, they need to accommodate the shift their learning and development programs offer. 

Along with formal training sessions, organizations need to equip managers with informal learning networks to help them seek guidance and help proactively. Peer coaching emerges as a valuable tool to bring about a step-change in manager development and helps managers mold winning behaviors and mindsets that drive better outcomes. 

Peer coaching helps managers achieve their goals by establishing rapport, identifying goals and the gaps that impede achieving this goal. Peer coaching is highly contextual and is an informal and non-judgmental space, which makes it more effective in driving behavioral change by reinforcing learning. 

Both new and experienced managers need peer coaching to succeed in today’s digitally transformed work paradigm. Only with peer coaching managers will be able to navigate the evolved demands of their job roles, learn new skills and imbibe a growth mindset. It helps them become more adaptive and iterative towards success, both of their teams and their own. 

With peer coaching, managers stay on the path of continuous learning. They get to move away from the traditional command and control form of leadership towards identifying their unique styles by building their self-awareness. 

In today’s competitive business environment organizations have to ensure that their new and experienced managers have the tools they need to succeed in the workplace and help others succeed as well. Peer coaching adopts a human-centric learning path that contributes to a culture of continuous learning by addressing their individual needs with clarity and context. Better manager performance, highly motivated teams, and engaged employees emerge as consequences of these actions.

Connect with us to learn how our AI-powered coaching platform can transform your learning and development initiatives and build a thriving peer coaching network within your organization to drive continuous learning. 

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

COVID-19 accelerated our move into the Future of Work and forced organizations and leaders to transition to adapt to the new demands quickly. 

While the pandemic altered the business landscape, it also made it clear that the idea of leadership (that we had) needed transformation as well. The style of leadership that thrived with command and control must move out the door. The idea that strong leadership is shaped by strict direction and delegation and demands dutiful obedience does not fit into the new narrative. 

Read: From “Remote Boss” To “Virtual Leader” – How to Make the Transition

As the world of work continues to grapple with the disruptions to the professional space and personal lives, it is only those leaders who remain effective who have identified the shift that leadership needs. It is clear that leaders can either command or control – they cannot do both.

The Leadership Shift 

The best leaders have always believed that their role is to inspire and motivate others to act – not to dictate. By surrendering ‘control’, leaders invite people to discover their individual potential and build an ‘ownership culture’…one that goes beyond accountability and inspires people to do more than the minimum. 

True leaders do not rise to the top because they want to control or command people. If these have been motivations, then they need to revisit why they chose to become a leader in the first place. 

The pandemic disrupting the world of work and the rising dominant millennial population have made leadership and leadership styles a hot topic of conversation. Additionally, the preconceived notions of strength are no longer conducive in this new world of work. 

Leadership expert Seth Godin succinctly states that it is very uncomfortable for leaders to say, “I want to go over there, and I’m going to be responsible for getting us over there, and no one has ever been over there, and I’m not sure how to get over there, but let’s go.” 

But this needs to change simply because unconventional times need unconventional solutions as controlling, polarizing behaviors and actions disengage and alienate their workforce. 

The Vision Conundrum 

The command-and-control style of leadership leans heavily on “vision”. While vision inspires, motivates, and gives direction and hope, this enchantment with vision presents a disembodied conception of leadership – one that manages to captivate our imagination, but rarely does it have a positive effect on ourselves…think working yourself to exhaustion. 

Vision does promise us a future but makes a huge demand on our lives. So just as a vision has the power to ignite, it has the power to burn out, especially when it comes as an infallible directive. 

The limitations of leadership that remain encrusted in vision become painfully obvious in the time of crisis. Crisis tests vision. Most don’t survive. This is because when a crisis strikes, such as a natural disaster or a sudden drop in revenues, we are already motivated to move. But what leads to failure is not the clarion call to action but the flailing. What people need from leaders is more than vision. They need direction to move purposefully. 

Read: Purpose-Led Engagement for Women and Millennials

This shift to build shared purpose and lead successfully does not come from control-and-command. Instead, it comes from developing the ability to contain, interpret, and respond with reassurance. It helps the workforce reorient, refocus, and stick together by making sense of the prevailing predicament. 

Those leaders who can contain and hold mutual support ensure that work continues and eventually, a new vision emerges. Approaching this from a place of control is counterproductive as it only leads to anxiety and fragmentation – the exact opposite of the desired outcomes that we want from leadership. 

VUCA and the Leader

Organizations of all shapes and sizes now realize that to survive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, we need different leadership skills. Controlling leadership behaviors ensure that the distribution of leadership capabilities does not permeate across the length and breadth of the organization. 

As we move into remote work, leaders need to help employees gain more agency by enabling digital adhocracies that rely on individual initiative. This helps employees across the board to become more independent and harness skills that help them make decisions that are aligned with corporate culture, values, and strategy.

The Dawn of New Leadership 

Much like how chefs balance multiple ingredients to achieve a delectable balance of flavors and create masterful meals, leadership skills need to balance humanity and technology. This means that leaders will have to embrace technology to enable work and improve the organization, their job role now demands them to provide employees with a sense of purpose. They need now move away from this old way of thinking that considers control as strength and march towards a mindset of service towards their internal and external customers. 

Leaders today and in the future will have to be explorers who are willing to embrace the unknown, are open to new ideas, and can change course as the world around them evolves. Just like explorers of the past who learned continuously to quench their curiosity, leaders must learn to be perpetually curious and open to dialogue and discovery. 

Peer Coaching to Drive Change 

While leaders need to build technical dexterity, what is even more essential is to increase their psychological capital. 

Leaders need to develop skills such as empathy and have an extremely high emotional quotient to lead effectively in this age of hybrid work. They need to identify ways to transition to virtual leaders from remote bosses. 

All these skills need a systemic shift in thinking patterns and an unlearning of learned behaviors that come with social conditioning and mindsets. Organizations cannot drive these shifts by organizing annual leadership retreats or day/week-long training sessions. These shifts need a behavioral change, one that comes from peer coaching, since it contextually and continuously reaffirms the right actions, provides timely feedback, and is powered by relevance. 

With peer coaching, leaders can develop the right attitudes that help them power through setbacks and negativity with a positive attitude and approach. Peer coaching helps leaders identify the reasons why they need to leave their ego at the door and helps them understand why they need to subjugate their personal agendas for the greater good of the organization. For this, leaders need to build authenticity, self-awareness, and honesty which can be achieved with peer coaching. 

In Conclusion 

Peer coaching helps leaders realize that leadership is not a solo sport but a team effort. It is only by releasing control, delegating effectively, and learning the language of the workforce that employees will join them in supporting their vision and help move their strategy forward. Releasing control can be difficult, but with the right interventions and the right information presented through peer coaching, achieving this no longer remains a pipedream.

Connect with our team of experts to develop a robust peer coaching strategy using a powerful AI-driven peer coaching platform and transform leadership development in your organization.