Jan. 22, 2024

Leadership Trends in 2024

Join me in this episode as I break down the top 4 predictions for leadership trends in the upcoming year based on insights from working with senior executives.

These predictions reflect the evolving landscape of leadership in 2024 and offer a glance into the skills and mindsets that leaders need to cultivate.

My takeaways are informed by real-world experiences and validated by fellow seasoned executive coaches, making it a must-listen for anyone interested in staying ahead of the leadership curve in 2024.

The podcasts references in the show as additional resources:
Chat GPT and the AI revolution
5 things to know about AI as a non-techie leader

Thanks to my coach colleagues who helped shape my thinking:
Aly King-Smith
Jill McMillan

Weekly newsletter | Ask Catherine | Work with me | LinkedIn | Instagram

Big shout out to my podcast magician, Marc at iRonickMedia for making this real.

Thanks for listening!

Catherine Stagg-Macey:

What is so clear is that good leaders create more economic value than poor leaders and extraordinary leaders are going to create significantly more economic value than the rest. And so what does that mean in challenging economic times? It's an extraordinary leaders are going to help us guide us safely through difficult economic circumstances, which is going to compete the labor of kind of leaders that you have, there's going to be no hiding in the coming year. It was true for last year, but this is this is 2024 predictions. The teams and the organizations that do well will have great leaders. Hello, and welcome to unset. At work, I'm your host, Catherine Stagg Macy, I'm an executive and team coach. And I'm interested in the conversations we don't have at work, I was making a lighten funny post for LinkedIn, and Instagram and what's in and out for 2024. It's one of the social media trends at the moment of seeing what's in and out for whatever sector you're in. And writing that I realized I had quite a bit more serious stuff to say on the topic of what's in and out for leadership and what you can expect if you're a leader in 2024. So channeling my inner consultants who used to make predictions for a job that was from technology and insurance sector. But that aside, I wanted to share with you, what I see is predictions for leadership in 2024. So these are themes and trends that I think you and I should pay attention to. And I'll give you some ideas as to how to resource yourself on each of the four predictions. As a coach to senior leaders, we are a lot like consultants, like we have hundreds of different conversations a year across different sectors with people in different levels of the organization gives us really unique perspective into the challenges that leaders are facing, and how they're approaching things, or what's keeping him awake at night. But I can't do this sort of content on my own. So I want to acknowledge to two people that I leant into that helped me flesh out some of my thinking. And these are two fantastic top executive coaches who've helped me to shout out to Alex Smith and Joel McMahon. And both are real veterans in coaching senior folk, and very articulate and helping me frame what I'm about to offer you today. So if you found this episode insightful, please do share with your colleagues and friends, you can invite email or socials on LinkedIn, I think there's lots of rich conversations to be had off the top of the back of these predictions that I'm about to make. So let's get that ball rolling at number one. And these aren't in any particular order. But my first prediction is that the tug of war between work from home and office base work is going to intensify. This topic of whether we should be allowed to work from home is or not, invokes at binary responses with the two entrenched camps. So either we have camp one, which is everyone back now or those in camp two, which is recorded in lockdown. How that showed us that we can be super flexible and work anywhere in the world. And I think this binary response isn't helpful. But it's going to continue. I have a friend that a large software company that you'd know who regularly gets diktats from head office to be in the office for a certain day of the week. So he goes into the office, and then sends me pictures of the banks and banks have desks on the floor that he's on. With no one else in them. He's the only one in the office COVID working is here to stay. I think for many industries, we know where that's possible at all. I think that that horse is less the stables. And I wonder if it isn't fear and a sense of loss of control that has so many companies mandating the return to the office like there are benefits to having staff in the office. But what I see is a very blind come into the office mandate without any sort of imagination around what work might be done in the office versus what work might be done remotely. It's just unhelpful. Many employees like the option to work from home, not necessarily five days a week. But just to have that flexibility. One study suggests that it reduces staff turnover by as much as 35%. So the benefits are there. I think we haven't yet gotten our head around navigating what that might look like in the new world. This is a complex topic, we have think of the preferences, understanding the environment that gets the best from ourselves and others. So there's two layers you could put a new one is Ron green personality, for example, in introversion and extraversion, how that's suited in how those types of people work in open plan, open floor office spaces versus working from home. Then there's also just preferences, freedom and independence preference versus something structured and controlled. There's the hands on style versus of delegation preferences. And then there's also I think, generational preferences. I remember in lockdown working with a company you had a lot of people in the mid 20s. So these are folk living in London, mostly in shared accommodation. So they might have room to themselves but they don't have any private space outside of that room so they were having to work from their bedroom when it became possible. They jumped at the opportunity to go back to the office. because they wanted a place that was different from working out of their bedroom, for those who have perhaps more senior and have more have larger houses and more space, that's a different decision to make. So, on this prediction, I think you're going to get pushback if you ask people to come into the office. And I think we need to be smarter at creating a compelling case, for the return to the office, or more particularly the case for what the hybrid version of work is. So what can you do? I think it's about starting conversation about what the future of work looks like for you and your team considering personalities and preferences as you talked about, perhaps it's only for your team with your team. If you're more senior, perhaps you can have a conversation about the future of work in the broader part of the organization either way, be part of that conversation, because five days in the office as an option is not an option. Continuing to feed the two entrenched camps isn't going to help anyone we need a much more nuanced conversation. So on to Prediction number two, the economic downturn is going to be a true test of leadership in your organization. At the moment I am working with an unusually high number of folks have been made redundant. And when I refer to this folks immediate responses to jump on the challenging economic circumstances do it to attribute the fact that people have been made redundant because it's a hard economic times. But from where I'm sitting in these organizations, the biggest challenge is not the economics but the lack of leadership. These people are on a redundancy list for nothing, they haven't done anything wrong. The leaders have led the organization into a place where it becomes a requirements to make people redundant. So admittedly, my experiences are a few organizations doesn't make this a trend. But I think let's face it, that leadership is often to blame, both for positive and negative things during a global financial crisis or a pandemic. The organization and teams that do well are because they have a leader that's conscious that the leader you sees their role as a leader is much more important than they're doing rather their functional role, the role that is on their business card. Good leadership sees us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we do see organizations understanding that and my two coach friends concurred with me on this one that particularly since COVID, if there are cracks in the system, pre COVID, was completely exacerbated by lockdown managers were having to manage with a lot less of the tools that they were used to having to lead on small screens, where the emotional cues are just not they're having to discern and read very subtle signs of what's going on with an individual or team. Truthfully managers are not equipped to do that for the most part. So this starts with dealing with oneself, you can't lead others in a crisis if you can't lead yourself. If you look at some of the research thing of fault and singer and Folkman are two elders in the research fields around leadership, and they conducted a study in a fortune 500 company, it was a mortgage company with about 100 offices in cities across America, as a given the nature of the business, they could with a fair degree of accuracy assess the leadership effectiveness of each branch manager. So unsurprisingly, as you might expect, the bottom 10% of the group has very poor revenue results, the top 10% of great leaders had exceptional results. But what was striking was the scale of the difference. So the bottom 10% of managers in terms of those who are least effective had a net loss of 1.2 million, versus who are in the middle ground of effectiveness of leadership, middle 80%, their profitable brand is 2.4 million. And here's the cracker. The top 10% of most effective leaders had a profit of 4.5 million per branch. So the middle group triples the profit for branch in comparison to the bottom 10%, the top 10% more than double the average profit per branch than the other 90%. What is so clear is that good leaders create more economic value than poor leaders and extraordinary leaders are going to create significantly more economic value than the rest. And so what does that mean in challenging economic times? It's an extraordinary leaders are going to help us guide us safely through difficult economic circumstances, which is going to completely lay bare the kind of leaders that you have, there's going to be no hiding in the coming year. It was true for last year, but this is this is 20/24 reductions deemed in the organization that do well we'll have great leaders in place and I do well doesn't mean blasting through your revenue predictions. But doing well perhaps we might reframe it in not having to make redundancies and maybe more steady as she goes in the year that's particularly challenging. So here's my suggestions on what you can think about. But suggest Number one is I think it's time for a bit of introspection, like where are you on your leadership journey? If you were really honest with yourself, would you be in the top 10% of the zinger Falkland study? And if how would you know if you're in that or not? So invest in your leadership skills, unless you've done it somewhat recently, get a 360 assessment done, and not the internal one that your HR team offers because that's rubbish finding a proper group own up, external one and one that because that will offer you a meaningful path for growth and development. The second suggestion is with your team and assuming this is safe to do so you could raise this topic of having a conversation around team effectiveness in economic challenging times what might need to evolve? How might you need to change the team? Or what can you say about his team? What are you doing? Well, that is going to help you guide the ship through a difficult economic downturn. So on to prediction three, artificial intelligence is going to be part of your leadership toolkit. So whether you like it or not, artificial intelligence, AI is going to insert itself into every aspect of your life personal professional that you can't actually imagine today. Let me give you two examples. My business friend is a brand designer and she spent December training herself on the use of AI visual generators like dialing and my journey. At the end of that she shared with me what she created, and I was completely blown away. These were high quality photographs that would be completely on brand and on point for any high end brand that you can think of. And she also then created these imaginary, wild, imaginary, super realistic photographs of a story that she was trying to tell about a journey across the desert with alien ships and showing human beings as well. And my point is, the quantity was amazing. They look like a photograph of an alien ship in the desert somewhere in the US. It wasn't even six months ago, we were getting pictures of people with six or seven thumbs because AI couldn't work out how to generate a property and what AI can produce today and to generate 24 is mind blowing in the visual space and developing an understanding pace. The second story I've got for you is my podcast editor, who is making quite a name for himself and is being the leading edge of using chat GBT to create amazing ways of marketing and promoting even creating content ideas for your podcast. He's taught me a lot. And in terms of how I use Chad GBT for my podcast, I used to create show notes and social content for the podcast, and sometimes for my other things that I do. But it's a pretty low key use of artificial intelligence based on what other people are doing. So I don't know your world. I don't know what sector or industry that you're in. So I can't predict for you how AI is going to show up in your universe. But I think quick Google search will help you start to get an understanding of the answer to that question. And if you want a primer on what the hell I'm talking about, if AI for you is still new. There are two episodes I did last year on the time that chatty VT blew up. The first one was a conversation with someone who knows a lot about this stuff. It's called Chat, GBT and AI revolution. And the second one was a solo episode that I recorded called Five things you should know our chat GBT as a non techie leader. Both of those are in the shownotes if you want to have a look at those, but aside from listening to them, how do I think you can resource yourself the first one is Don't bury your head in the sand, AI, artificial intelligence is here. It needs to become something you're familiar with, it's not going to go away. And understanding and leveraging AI will become a leadership competency of time, much like email, became a housekeeping skill. I remember when I first started working the senior people, and we were at this is like 9080 93, the very early start of email. And the leaders of the organization I was in had their secretaries print the emails, rather than work on hand log on to email you can match. So as have since retired, so I think it's similar to that, like we, it feels like something on the sidelines. But it is going to become so intrinsically part of how you lead and it's my encouragement to you is to get in front of that learning curve and do the research experiment with the tools. There's a lot of free tools out there are free for the single user level. Or if this isn't your thing, or you don't have the time and the capacity, then find that one person your team has been timed to do the research, there's always one and give them free rein that let them have at it and do the research for you. So that was Prediction number three, Prediction number four, the last one, leaders will have the role of fostering emotional strength in turbulent times. In my first job in the 90s South Africa was going through its first democratic election, so like monumental and there was a lot of fear going on. There was a lot of concern about the level of violence that was going to happen in the elections. But still the unspoken rule at the time was that you didn't talk about politics to work those times of change. We are living with big wars, factions, huge differences in your along religious lines along political lines. Even as Ali said to me, are you on Team Harry or team William, thinking of the royal family? People take sides and politics is more and more divisive and it's just impossible for these topics not to enter into everyday conversation at the office. And I think this amplifies really amplifies feelings of sadness and anxiety in the individuals that you're managing. The key question then is what is it like to lead when so many people are grappling with this profile? On sadness, so we're disillusionment about the world and their part in it. Effective leadership for this year is going to be defined, I think, by those leaders who are defined by their emotional intelligence, and they're skilled at fostering resilience. And this is no longer an area where you outsource to HR, your people partner, to build resilience and emotional resilience in your team, this is on you. The responsibility lies with you. emotional strength, and well being is going to be critical for the success of you and for your team. So what can you do about this? I think start with asking yourself, like How well am I understanding and responding to the needs and challenges of my team members? Do I understand how they might identify and Hi, that might be creating some anxiety for them with that along religious lines, or gender lines or political lines, people think they aren't bringing things to work, but it'll affect how they show up at work. And this reflection can then lead you to a sort of deeper understanding of how do I then to support each team member effectively with the outcome of being a more resilient and engaged team because they feel seen and witnessed and held? And then the second one is just be a role model, demonstrate resilience and emotional strength yourself? What is it that you're sending with? What grief or sadness? What disillusionment? Are you sending words? How are you navigating that? So you can navigate your own emotions effectively, as opposed to brushing them under the carpet? This inspires the team to do the same. And for this last prediction of how do we lead in these troubled times, I want to just add, shout out to Annie for putting that theme on my radar. So that, my friends is the four predictions for the year. Let me sum it up for you. Prediction number one, the tug of war between working from home and office based work will intensify Prediction number two, the economic downturn will be a true test of leadership in your organization. Prediction number three, artificial intelligence is part of the leadership toolkits and prediction for leaders will have the role of fostering emotional strength in these troubled times. I noticed as I made this episode, I wanted to add things that I would like to see like less tolerance for the toxic employee or taking diversity seriously or sustainability as a core leadership principle. But the truth is, I'm not seeing signs of this. That's not to say it's not happening. It's just not happening in the circles that I operate primarily in the UK. So I have to keep reminding myself this isn't an aspirational this. What I've shared here is based on the signs that I've seen in my work with dozens of readers in the last year and then validated and clarified with the help of my two coach friends. So perhaps after listening to this episode, you want to go it's time to get yourself Coach 2024. And if that's the case, let's have that no obligation chemistry core. You can find the link to working with me at the bottom of the show notes or you can email me at Katherine at conversations at the edge. If you love this episode, and want to have more of the conversations, feel free to share on LinkedIn or on socials or even just forward this to somebody you think might benefit from it. So until next time, my friends this is your wingman signing off.