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The Case for Engaging Leadership Has Never Been So Clear

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Written by:

David D’Souza

Director of Membership

CIPD


It has been a year of pain, suffering and challenge and one in which hope has been hard to come by for many.

Individuals and organisations have struggled against a challenge on a human and economic scale that will not have been seen in most of our lives. The struggle is a very human one. The long term response must see us strive not just to ‘build back better', but to move forward with a new vision architecture and plans that support a better quality of work for more people and for generations to come. A leadership challenge that will play out on the international stage, on the national stage in Wales and also within organisations.

We have heard the stories throughout the crisis of both poor and exceptional leadership. We see and feel the difference. Poor leadership costs businesses, but also costs people in terms of their mental wellbeing and their development. At the heart of good leadership is the ability to connect and inspire, because those things allow an environment in which trust can flourish. Trust has never been more important; we can't come together to solve problems when trust is fractured. We can't trust where people don't feel heard. In a world where we are encouraged to believe the news is fake and societal division is, all too often, clear, the need for engaging leadership is clear. In challenging times organisations need people to innovate and to work well to a shared purpose; that's most possible where people have trust in their leaders and their intent and capability.  Where leaders are open, fair and committed to engaging with colleagues and customers alike.

We have had imbalanced systems – unfair in pay, unfair in opportunity and unfair in who is heard. The opportunity for leaders to better connect with people to engage them in righting those wrongs has never been more apparent. Leadership can be a lonely role, but leaders who connect and engage have a platform to deliver more collaboratively and productively than others. Remote working and social distancing need not mean distant leadership. In fact, it requires a depth of contact and connection that has always marked out the best leaders.

It is not a soft skill; it is the hardest skill of all.