Key Trends in Leadership for 2023

Key Trends in Leadership for 2023

A new year is a great time for association leaders to take a look as their leadership style and reflect on how they could adopt new approaches to improve in 2023. From inclusivity and mental health awareness, to managing competition between and giving feedback to employees, we take a look at the key trends to have on your radar.

Creating more inclusive, engaging workplaces

The importance of inclusivity and creating an engaging workplace has become more well understood in recent years, and in 2023 all leaders should be thinking about how they can entice the best candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. An inclusive workplace culture welcomes people from all walks of life, adding a spectrum of perspectives and an element of out-of-the-box thinking that you can’t achieve a more homogenous workforce. In an inclusive working environment, people are often more engaged because they know that they can bring their full and authentic selves to work. Additionally, these workplaces encourage distinctive ideas and celebrate difference, leading to work which feels more meaningful and satisfying.

Leaders can work to create more inclusive, engaging workplaces by thinking about their hiring processes and actively seeking new recruits from different industries or backgrounds. They can encourage engagement by showing employees that they are valued and their ideas are respected, by giving staff access to professional development opportunities, and by supporting collaboration by removing siloing and barriers.

Fostering psychological wellness in the workplace

It is vital that leaders are cognisant of mental health issues and the psychological impact that a negative workplace can have on employees. Fostering an environment that promotes wellness and good mental health is more than just good for productivity and business outcomes; it has positive affects outside the workplace as well. Some of the ways that leaders can think about and create better psychological wellness include:

  • Making mental health help accessible. If your organisation doesn’t already have one, consider signed up for a program of confidential counselling services that are available to your employees at no cost to them.
  • De-stigmatising mental health issues. Open and honest discussion at an executive level can show that anyone can experience psychological problems.
  • Mental health training for managers. Leaders need to take the initiative to further educate themselves in mental health challenges and how to recognise these in staff, so they can be prepared for conversations in this space.
  • Checking in with employees. Learning more about staff on a human level can help to ascertain if they have any areas they may need help with and can improve their overall wellness.

Managing increased competition for promotions and salary increases

Leaders are responsible for maintaining a sense of unity and harmony within a team of employees, but this can be difficult when those staff members are in competition for promotions and raises.

Organisations can find themselves with problems if it is discovered that employees doing the same role are on vastly different packages; especially when the differences are divided along gender lines. Although some employees will always bring more experience and skills to a role and need to be compensated for these, keeping salaries – and salary increases – as consistent as possible is the best way to avoid resentment within the team. Always be transparent about your budget when it comes to offering salary increases. This helps employees know that you are doing the best you can, and doesn’t leave them feeling that there is extra money being kept from them.

Similarly, the process of giving a staff member a promotion should be as fair and transparent as possible. Conduct an interview process to give all employees a chance to apply for the new role. When making a decision, share your reasoning as much as is appropriate.

Professional development and coaching for leaders

Everyone can benefit from professional development opportunities, including and especially the executive leadership team. Generally, these higher up roles come with greater complexity and responsibility, and leaders need to continue learning throughout their career if they want to achieve the best results for their organisation and encourage the best performance from their staff.

A coaching approach can be helpful when it comes to developing the skills of leaders. Coaching take the form of ongoing training and reflection with an experienced mentor who can help a leader to identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and strategies for reaching new goals. Because it is a long-term commitment to growth, it can provide more long lasting benefits to the leaders’ work life and their organisation as a whole.

Delivering constructive feedback for a new generation of employees

Delivering feedback to employees is a key skill for managers at all levels, and talented leaders will be able to tailor this feedback based on the personality on the staff member. All individuals will have their own preferred way of receiving feedback, but there are some general trends between generations. As Generation Z (those born after 2000) enters the workforce in increasing numbers, it is important that leaders understand the preferences and working style of this new type of employee. Some of the key points to remember when managing Gen Z employees include:

  • Stay in communication. This generation are glued to their screens and will appreciate daily check ins.
  • Give feedback quickly. Gen Z prefer instant responses to their work.
  • Adopt a coaching style. Asking leading questions, such as ‘what part of this project is challenging to you’ is more helpful than giving them the answers yourself.

Questions? Need Help?

Need some extra help leading your association? AES offers comprehensive services in this area. Simply contact us for further information, or book a free consultation.

About the Author: Nick Koerbin (Executive Director, AES)

With over 30 years of management expertise, Executive Director and Founder of AES, Nick Koerbin is one of the most experienced NFP leaders in Australia. He has held positions as the CEO of Materials Australia, the National Parts Code, as well as senior positions in the Institute of Insurance, Australian Quality Council, the Financial Planning Association, the Australian Human Resources Institute, and the Furniture Industry Association of Australia. Nick created AES with a vision of creating a set of management practices that could be consistently followed to ensure success. Over his 30 years in the industry, he noticed that inconsistent management practices often impeded delivery of services to members, which in turn created issues with membership renewal. By establishing AES and creating the NFP Association Best Practice Self-Assessment, Nick has been able to assist leaders in becoming more confident and informed decision makers so that they can create more effective strategies and implementation plans.

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