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What is Connected Leadership and Why it is Important to Know About it Now?

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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Leadership is the linchpin of organizational life irrespective of the size of the company. 

As the world of work evolves, leadership no longer remains about expectation setting and ensuring that others meet these. In today’s world where employees have become more like consumers, leadership is all about delivering enablement to employees, and helping organizations navigate constant disruption while building agility and resilience. 

As digital disruption sweeps across all industries and the workforce demographics change, leadership capabilities have to evolve to help organizations remain relevant. Today, leadership needs a radical shift to accommodate the ever-evolving needs of a dynamic, hybrid, and disruptive workplace. More than strong leadership, we need a completely different kind of leader; one that is not based on older models such as control mechanisms and financial returns solely. 

Say Hello to Connected Leadership

Organizations are redesigning themselves to become more connected, people-centric, and collaborative. Leading this organization with old, authoritarian, or autocratic models of leadership is now counter-productive. This new world of work needs a new kind of leadership. As the organization works towards becoming more connected, leadership must evolve and adopt connection too. 

Connected leadership focuses on building a psychologically safe, trustworthy, and comfortable environment for the workforce. 

The connected leaders 

  • Are highly self-aware and empathetic. 
  • Are not afraid to display vulnerability and are very empathetic. 
  • View themselves as the enablers of team success, encourage honest dialogue, and are open and receptive to feedback. 
  • Enable and encourage their teams to be the best version of themselves through effective problem solving, identifying barriers to success, and delivering enablement through career pathing, training, and coaching.

Why do we Need Connected Leadership Today?

Connected leadership engages the workforce and empowers them to lead themselves. 

A connected leader ensures that their team collaborates effectively and uses points of failure as learning opportunities. It emphasizes the concept of shared leadership where the workforce becomes self-driven and solution-oriented.

If we look at the basic tenets of connected leadership, we realize this is the perfect leadership model for today’s world of work. We need connected leadership today more than ever because:

Changing world of work and workplace demographics

The world of work is hybrid. Geographically disparate and remote teams are part of almost every organization’s vocabulary. Leadership now needs to inspire action, build resilience across teams, and help them become self-motivated to drive collaboration and innovation.

The workplace demographics have also changed. Employees now want more from their workplace. People want careers and not just jobs. They no longer want to simply turn up, get the job done and then go home. Purpose and meaning have assumed a very important role in the work narrative. Millennials and Gen Z no longer respond to authoritarian and autocratic leadership. They want greater autonomy and trust. 

Connected leadership is based on the foundation of trust, enablement, and solution discovery and hence becomes more relevant to today’s work environment.

It’s employees’ market 

The rise of the gig economy, contract workers, and remote and hybrid work is encouraging people to pivot to new roles and experiences. Trends like the Great Resignation signal that it is an employee’s market. With rising skills shortages, leaders need to capably meet career pathing and personal and professional development needs to drive loyalty and trust. 

Also read: Retaining Top Talent with The Right Career Pathing

Connected leaders collaborate with their teams, encourage honest dialogue and input, and help employees in the process of discovery. This encourages and motivates the employees more as they can see the leadership investment in their development. 

Critical skills are becoming crucial for effective leadership

Transparency, openness, and empathy are emerging as valuable traits to drive employee engagement. Connected leaders display these qualities and have high levels of self-awareness. These traits make it easier for them to connect with the employees better, secure buy-in, and problem-solve effectively. 

The rising focus on psychological safety and human connection

In today’s hybrid workplaces, creating a high-trust and psychologically safe work environment is vital. Connected leaders capably build high-trust environments since this leadership is steeped in clear communication, transparency, guidance, and trust. Since the connected leader focuses on solving problems with empathy and understanding they enjoy higher levels of trust.

Connected leadership is heavily focused on creating human connections. Since leaders today have to work with teams across the generations, leaders need to build authenticity into their leadership style by demonstrating vulnerability and empathy. These two traits are the basis of human connection and show strength of character, and willingness to learn. 

It also breaks the unconscious biases that equate strength with control and vulnerability with weakness. This allows people to build deeper relationships since it develops a psychologically safe work environment and ensures team bonding and higher trust and loyalty in the organization. 

How to Become a Connected Leader?

Connected leadership is not easy since it does not make any assumptions. It is based on enablement and demands a greater understanding of challenges and performance impediments. Leaders need to develop and heighten their self-awareness and objectively separate themselves from their personal biases. Unlearning certain leadership traits that are focused on control and generating high levels of confidence and trust, first in oneself, and then inspiring the same across their teams are essential for connected leadership. 

So how can leaders evolve into connected leaders?

  • Identify your personal conscious and unconscious biases that impact your worldview and thought processes. 
  • Develop critical skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, etc., and build a high-trust environment. 
  • Create a non-judgmental environment where every failure is an opportunity for improvement.
  • Coach teams to drive career pathing initiatives and ensure that they develop a solution-driven mindset.
  • Build the right processes and the right technology ecosystem that facilitates productivity. 
  • Walk the talk, display vulnerability, and encourage help-seeking behaviors to build bonds with people up, down, and every which way around them.

Coaching leaders and managers to adopt connected leadership styles is vital for organizational success today. This leadership model can effectively generate buy-in, drive individual and collective ownership, accomplish more with less, and develop a sense of belonging in the workplace. It builds an atmosphere where people feel connected, cared for, and inspired to accomplish great things. 

Leadership coaching to build connected leaders is now imperative for all enterprises, big and small. However, taking a data-backed approach to ensure the right coach-learner fit and data-backed methodologies to identify improvement areas, biases, etc. become crucial as well. 

Our AI-powered coaching platform can help organizations enhance their leadership capabilities and assist their leaders to evolve into connected leaders fit to lead the enterprise today and in the future. 

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