Leaders: How can you take control of your 2022?

In my last article, I considered how some might think we are facing another bumpy year. The answer to this was: it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In this article, I want to talk about Leadership. Leadership not just in the sense of leading others, but leading yourself to taking charge of your organisation’s growth. No matter if you are an executive, senior leader, an officer or a casual worker, everyone can benefit from understanding the challenges we are facing in 2022 and how we can embody leadership to grow throughout them.

This year is about embracing vulnerability, being curious and courageous, by tapping into the skills we already possess: a willingness to learn, emotional intelligence, empathy and listening.

So, what types of challenges are we looking at this year?

The Growth Faculty recently released their list of 10 challenges, and we have chosen our top 5 we foresee being the most challenging, and how you can take control of each:

1.      Reskilling and upskilling: PwC Director, Tim Rawlings said “Companies must plan for dynamic rather than static tomorrows”. How do you mitigate being static or stagnant? Growth; by investing in your employee’s skills. Spend the time to upskill, mentor or train current staff, or support your staff to reskill and learn new skills in a different area of the business. Reskilling and upskilling creates a positive impact on both the staff and the organisation, can increase your retention rates and sets up your organisation as versatile, strong, multidisciplinary.

2.      High job ads, low applications: 78% of Australian CEOs say that “availability of key skills is a top threat to growth” (PwC), and in 2021, there was a 50% increase in job ads and over 50% decrease on job applications per ad since 2019 (Seek). So, to start, take a look at your job ads – are multiple certifications required and familiarity with EXACT programs non-negotiable? While some roles require this, others probably don’t. The immediate solve to this problem is tapping into talent which sits just below your bar of criteria but well into your core competencies and capabilities. Australia relies heavily on its offshore labour, and it’s likely that many of these people are either already in Australia with the skills, or are sitting offshore and ready to go. Reduce some of your criteria and you have a keen-as-mustard migrant ready to get on board. Hire not just for ability, but attitude. The right attitude, just like our first point, can be easily trained to fit your top-tier criteria.

3.      Diversity and inclusion: Relative to the previous point, look to increase your diversity. Expand from your norms, take risks and open your company up to people who can bring you diverse talent and culture. Diversity increases creativity, productivity and knowledge-sharing, as you bring in people from different cultures, with different stories. However, half (46%) of Australian workers feel unable to be their true selves at work some or all of the time (2020 Indeed survey). You must not forget, when you do have that diversity, to ensure you create a culture of listening and sharing. In turn, you’ll find you have a cognitively diverse team which can improve problem solving skills and increase your employee engagement.

4.      Mental Health and wellbeing: 1 in 5 Australians experience some form of anxiety at any one time in the workplace, says Dawn O’Neil AM, former CEO of Lifeline and Beyond Blue. In accordance with creating diversity, one of the key ways you can improve mental health in the workplace is to create an open, inclusive and accepting culture. If half of Australians feel they are unable to express themselves at work, wellbeing is not going to improve. This challenge, alike the rest, needs the tone to be set from the top. Executives to line managers should all be provided training for how to understand, identify, support and respond to mental health in the workplace.

5.      Post-pandemic world: If you didn’t know what living in a VUCA world meant, you do now. We have entered the third year now of being in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous climate. But like I have said before, it is no excuse to sit and ride the storm, you need to embrace the strength, adaptability and flexibility we have all acquired from this VUCA climate and use it to have a strong growth mindset. Having a leadership mindset is about having a growth mindset. If you have a growth mindset you are automatically turned on for success. But not success in terms of consistent and tangible achievements; success in the way of accepting failure, accommodating and learning, adjusting, and trying again.

Can you see the common factor throughout each of these challenges? Growth.

As a leader no matter what type, it will be crucial this year to embrace growth in yourself, your teams, your friends and family and your organisations. Be curious and be courageous and you will flower your growth.

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