This has been a crazy year. With a looming recession, layoffs across the tech sector, peak employee burnout, and so much more, most leaders are desperately hoping that 2023 will bring more calm and stability. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening are slim at best.
What can improve, however, is the training companies give their leaders. If leaders are equipped with the right skills, whatever challenges come in 2023 won’t seem quite as dire. To that end, here are three critical skills that leaders must have going into 2023.
Skill #1: Building, Teaching and Living Values
The employee-employer contract has shifted in favor of employees in the past few years. Top performers are not going to quietly and passively accept whatever their company does. If a high performer joined an organization because of that company’s values, you can bet that they’re going to demand the company actually practice those values. And if a company hasn’t clearly defined its values, good luck getting top performers in the first place.
The Leadership IQ study, Why Company Values Are Falling Short, revealed that employees are 115% more engaged when their organization has a well-defined set of company values. The problem is that only 24% of organizations have detailed what specific behaviors are necessary to live their company values.
Leaders in 2023 are going to have to thoroughly communicate and explain the company’s values. And more than that, leaders have to teach every single employee precisely what behaviors are necessary to live those values. In 2023, values cannot be some pretty document that’s idly framed on a conference room wall; values need to be consistently taught and lived.
Skill #2: Reducing Frustrations
Current burnout levels are frightening at most companies. And the closer a recession seems, the more stressed (and subsequently burned out) employees will become. There are antidotes to burnout, however, and one of the easiest to implement is reducing employee frustrations.
In the study, Frustration At Work, Leadership IQ discovered that around 60% of employees say that the frustrations they face at work are so severe that they want to look for other jobs. The good news is that 84% of employees feel that if their major frustration were fixed, they would be significantly more productive.
Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of work frustrations that employees identify are fixable. Whether it’s a broken process, a micromanaging boss, or unintelligible work-from-home policies, the issues ruining employee morale are not insurmountable. But fixing those frustrations will require leaders to ask directly, and without defensiveness, for employees to share any and all frustrations.
Gone are the days when leaders didn’t have to listen to their people; these days, leaders absolutely need to surface, via real dialogue, the pains afflicting their people.
Skill #3: Hiring For Attitude
A recent study found that most CEOs think will there will be a recession in 2023. If that happens, hiring will likely slow, if not freeze, at many companies. And when that occurs, every hiring decision will take on increased importance. When hiring slows, if a manager makes a poor hiring decision, they may not get another chance to hire someone better.
Great hiring decisions are going to require a lot more than merely selecting candidates with the right skills. In the landmark study, Why New Hires Fail, Leadership IQ discovered that 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months. And 89% of the time, those hiring failures will be the result of poor attitudes, not a lack of technical skills.
The next year probably won’t be a boom time, where hiring mistakes can be quickly rectified with a ready funnel of replacements. One bad hire can mean that a position is filled with a painful employee, or it stays unfilled for the next year. While managers often give short shrift to interviewing candidates, for the next few months, that activity should be at the very top of their list of priorities.
The upcoming year is unlikely to be much calmer than the last. But if leaders are prepared with a few new skills, there’s a good chance it won’t feel nearly as stressful.