What leadership trends are emerging in 2023?
From more emphasis on retention to focusing on improving yourself, here are 14 answers to the question, “What are the most important emerging leadership trends to watch for in 2023?”
- Emphasizing Talent Retention
- Developing Manager Software
- Pivoting Towards Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
- Facing the Unknown vs. Having All Answers
- Decentralizing Decision-making
- Optimizing Team Performance With AI
- Growing Millennial Leadership
- Understanding DEI and Unconscious Biases
- Creating Opportunities for Purposeful Work
- Learning into a Positive Impact
- Cultivating Mindfulness
- Building a Remote Team Culture
- Investing in a Flex Workforce
- Focusing on Self-improvement
Emphasizing Talent Retention
Many industries are continuously seeing a rise in their employee turnover rate, even in this post-pandemic world. On top of this, the “quiet quitting” phenomenon in 2022 caused companies to lose talent without decreasing their headcount.
As a result, business and organization leaders are called to give a strong focus on talent retention and improving employee satisfaction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee turnover rate in 2022 alone is 20% higher than the pre-pandemic level. Hence, today’s leaders are striving to gain and keep employees. A lot more businesses and organizations will provide employees with flexible work schedules and internal mobility.
Personally, I think this trend will continue even beyond 2023, especially with the impending threat of the forecasted recession. Human resources in many companies and organizations will become more sophisticated and leaders will have to learn how to manage their satisfaction and morale.
Developing Manager Software
So many companies have good intentions for manager development, but end up settling for a big three-ring binder of content, an hour-long training, or a meeting about how to keep the company from getting sued.
In 2023, expect companies to invest in manager development software—tools that help leaders focus on key activities that drive engagement and alignment with their teams. Just because someone has the title of manager doesn’t mean they know what to do, and companies will turn to manager development software to help bridge the gap.
Pivoting Towards Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
This year, one emerging leadership trend to watch for is emphasizing emotional intelligence (EI) and empathy in leadership. As the world becomes increasingly complex and fast-paced, leaders who can understand and connect with the emotions of their team members are becoming more valuable.
With a heightened focus on mental health and well-being in the workplace, leaders who can create a positive, supportive work environment and address the emotional needs of their employees are better equipped to foster a more engaged and productive workforce.
This trend is also reflected in the growing popularity of design thinking and human-centered approaches to leadership, which prioritize empathy and a deep understanding of the needs and motivations of employees, customers, and stakeholders.
By demonstrating empathy and emotional intelligence, leaders can build stronger relationships, foster trust, and drive team engagement and performance.
Facing the Unknown vs. Having All Answers
The most significant trend I’ve seen is the shift of the leadership paradigm from “having all the answers” to “facing the unknown” as a united team under a leader’s guidance. This is no doubt a result of the pandemic and the changes that came along with it and will continue to normalize in 2023 as we approach a recession.
Whereas in the past, employees looked to their leaders for concrete answers, the sheer unpredictability of the last few years and the upcoming year has forced leadership to admit they don’t know everything. Instead, employees are looking for leadership that they can rely on to be supportive, adaptive, and compassionate in the face of uncertainty.
This leadership approach delegates responsibilities and decision-making power to be spread out among a team rather than being centralized in a single leader. In this model, leaders empower and trust their team members to contribute and lead in their areas of expertise, creating a more collaborative and dynamic workplace.
Distributed leadership is becoming increasingly popular as organizations seek to foster a culture of innovation, adapt to changing business conditions, and respond to the needs and preferences of a new generation of employees. By leveraging their teams’ collective intelligence and skills, organizations can achieve better outcomes, drive greater collaboration, and foster a more engaged and motivated workforce.
Optimizing Team Performance With AI
AI can help leaders analyze data, spot patterns, and trends, and make better decisions quickly. It can also automate processes with the goal of improving efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.
In addition, AI can provide insights into employee performance and engagement, allowing leaders to tailor approaches that are more effective and tailored toward meeting individual needs.
As AI technology continues to advance, it is becoming increasingly accessible for businesses of all sizes, making it easier for leaders to leverage this powerful tool in their organizations.
Growing Millennial Leadership
As Millennials continue to enter the workforce and assume leadership positions, they will drive new business models and create new ways of thinking about how companies should be run.
Millennials are a generation that came of age in the digital age and are now leading the way in the business world. They are known for being creative, forward-thinking, and entrepreneurial, and are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of leadership.
One emerging role they will have is cohort leadership which focuses on bringing together different generations to work together harmoniously and collaboratively to achieve common goals.
Understanding DEI and Unconscious Biases
Having experience in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is becoming an increasingly critical skill for leaders to have. This DEI experience goes beyond just having experience in DEI spaces, but also encompasses being able to recognize one’s own potential unconscious biases and how to navigate them.
Those looking to move into leadership roles should be prepared to show the ways they have gained experience in the DEI space and also how they navigate those spaces in their current or past roles. The umbrella of DEI includes many people in the workplace, and anyone who wants to get into or stay in a leadership role should gain skills and knowledge of DEI and the unconscious biases that can be associated with it.
Creating Opportunities for Purposeful Work
More than ever, workers expect their jobs to provide not only material benefits but also a sense of fulfillment. According to a recent private survey, 70% of American workers believe their jobs define their sense of purpose.
The pandemic has caused many workers to reevaluate whether their jobs are important. Companies give the new generation of employees a genuine sense of purpose if they don’t want them to leave quickly, according to experts who note that corporate stances on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are more crucial than ever for both employee recruitment and retention.
Leaning into a Positive Impact
This approach prioritizes a leader’s ability to articulate and live a clear and inspiring purpose, which not only drives their own actions but also aligns and motivates those they lead.
Purpose-driven leaders are passionate about creating a positive impact in the world and seek to develop organizations that serve a higher purpose beyond just profit. Purpose-driven leadership provides a framework for leaders to navigate uncertainty and create positive change in a rapidly changing and complex business landscape.
By articulating and living an obvious purpose, they can inspire their teams and stakeholders, and create a sense of shared mission and direction. This not only drives organizational performance and success, but also contributes to a better world.
In 2023, organizations that purpose-driven leaders direct are likely to be more successful and have a more positive impact on the world.
Leaders who are engaged in creating a safe, grounded, connected space within themselves and for their teams are best suited to navigate through today’s chaotic and changing environment. Moving with calm clarity between thinking and feeling, sensing and knowing, and certainty and uncertainty as individuals and within a team are skills leaders will need to continually focus on and cultivate for success now and in the future.
Building a Remote Team Culture
We will remember 2023 for businesses’ attempts to integrate remote workers into the general flow of workplace culture. So, this year’s leadership trend will be the development of remote teams’ cultures.
We cannot expect remote workers to operate in the same culture that unites and motivates regular staff. To help them feel valued and included, additional consideration must be given to them.
In fact, all organizations must pay special attention to the different ways we must engage, connect, and unite remote workers. The culture of remote work is clearly here to stay at this point. Therefore, greater planning and implementation to promote remote work culture permanently, rather than utilizing gimmicks to persuade people to choose in-office work over remote work, should be a priority for leaders.
Investing in a Flex Workforce
Embracing and investing in a “flex workforce” is a leadership trend on the rise as more and more people are not only seeking but expecting flexibility in how they work. Companies reshape their hiring, compensation, and employee experience to meet business needs while creating a unifying environment for full-time, flex-time, and contract employees.
The entire work experience is being overhauled, and the most progressive CEOs and leaders are capitalizing on the opportunity and cultural shift instead of continuing to operate traditionally.
Focusing on Self-improvement
Leadership in 2023 is all about self-improvement through self-care, accountability, introspection, and learning. Leaders will prioritize their own well-being, accept responsibility, look inward for self-awareness, and embrace a growth mindset.
And, by focusing on these areas, leaders will empower themselves and drive better outcomes for their organization. A popular trend for 2023, putting yourself first leads to better serving others and driving success.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What’s one emerging leadership trend to watch for in 2023?”