Page 0007

employees and some significant leadership

challenges: namely to maintain a connected,

collaborative workforce working on multiple

projects from different locations. Sounds

like it has always been right? Now add

in the new 'hybrid' work challenges, with

some employees working in person in the

office or on site, some online using virtual

platforms across different time zones, and

all needing careful management in order

to collaborate productively. Still, this now

means they all need inspiration, guidance

and an understanding that wherever we are

and whatever we are working on, we are still

all one team - Committed to Collaboration,

Clarity and always delivering professional

Competence. And with all that in mind we

are still driving our brand and delighting our

customers.

This is the landscape that our leaders and

future leaders will need to operate in. The

world has changed, and our leaders must

change with it.

AL: Having the functional 'smarts' is one

thing, but is it enough?

AM: Today's multi-zone hybrid work

environments need more from our leaders

than just being 'book smart' or 'tech savvy'.

IQ or intelligence quotient has not been

the recruitment measurement of choice for

some time when engaging and assessing

new leaders or colleagues. IQ, normally

represented as a number relates to standard

intelligence, what people know or how

smart they are based on a series of tests,

and some would argue has never been the

most important factor when it comes to

communication or inspirational leadership.

What is truly important is how leaders

share their knowledge, demonstrate care for

people and the world around them, and make

real connections. And we mean personal

connections, not just a LinkedIn network,

social media engagement, or how many views

the corporate speech clocked up. Leaders

who can consistently make this happen have

emotional intelligence or 'EQ'.

AL: What is EQ and how can it be developed?

AM: Considering it is a key type of leadership

performance focus in today's modern

workplace, leaders need to discover this

quickly and understand how to demonstrate

it.

Obviously, in the last two years the connection

between people has suffered a lot. Therefore,

leaders were forced to change their connection

methods. Leaders must adapt to a much

more engaging, personal, dynamic and

clearer way of leading. People's attention has

been diminished and pulled away for a long

period of time, real human connection has

been jeopardized - leaders have struggled

to re-motivate people to stay focused and

connected. They have struggled to use the

media and technology in the new 'virtual'

reality. They are trying to connect using social

media, intranet, webinars and even with blogs;

but they are still missing the mark, particularly

from a personal perspective.

AL: It seems that 2020 has changed the

business landscape for good. So how does

leadership emerge out of that?

AM: Management has fallen into two

very distinct camps; the 'traditional-style'

managers felt that they had lost the control

and ability to oversee their teams and as

such tried to hold on tighter with more rules,

and more one-way meetings about numbers

and performance. 'New-style' leaders saw

an opportunity to connect with their people

in a different way and set up different ways

of communication. For instance, focusing on

short bursts of live face-to-face activities and

two-way engagement. To be effective, leaders

had to focus on transferring their feelings and

charisma and get the personal message across

on a small screen and really try to lead through

the personal connection to each colleague.

An interesting part of the progressive modern

leadership approach being developed at

Swisslog is 'Service Leadership'. It is built on

the premise that the leaders' primary focus

is to both service and focus on the needs of

our customers. At the same time leaders give

the support required to our colleagues to

perform, grow, and develop in order to service

our customers together as one team. Service

leadership comes with a notion that people

do not serve the leader, it is leader that serves

the people and the organization in which they

lead. Swisslog wants to encourage partnership

through collaboration with colleagues and

customers. By doing this, we can realize

opportunities and deal with problems together,

rather than taking the traditional approaches

which have held back the future focus of

some of our strategic drivers. The traditional

approach may be a comfort zone for some,

but it is an approach which is no longer

capable of delivering the performance

required of today's complex people-centric

organizations.

This requirement for modernization changes

the leadership dynamic completely and

fundamentally.

AL: Why is this change necessary?

AM: It is simple; leaders do not have all the

answers. The late Steve Jobs, founder of

one of the most successful companies of all

time, left us with more than some amazing

technological innovations. He also had a

07

Aleksandra Laskowska, Market Analyst, was

curious about current trends on leadership.

Alex Martin, Global Change & Development

Consultant

ƒ Has 29 years practical hands on senior

development and leadership experience.

ƒ He is married, has two kids and 14-yearold cat.

'True empowerment is based on trust, and

support to act. What we need is a partnership

of support, direction, and understanding to

help us find a better way. It is not about 'what

can you do for the bosses', but very much

'what the leadership can do for the people

within our organization.''

VIRTUAL LEADERSHIP

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