Nowadays being a leader is a great challenge, not only because of the complexity of the problems that are experienced but also because we are working with a generation of employees who have motivations for accomplishment, achievements, and goals, in the short term and require a new leadership style.
But as the saying goes, “Not all bosses are leaders,” and that is evident when employees only obey orders. It is enough to observe the organization when the boss is not there to know what is happening with the leadership.
Great leaders are those who manage to motivate a group of people, connect to achieve goals, and can move their team to its full potential with a purpose.
According to Peter Druker, management guru, and father of modern management, “A leader is someone who has followers.” This definition could be interpreted as those who have a boss who they admire, ask for advice, and follow his example in their organization. But attention, popularity is not always synonymous with leadership. There are also leaders with negative behaviors that contaminate the organization.
To be a leader, it is not enough to hold a position or have a title. Leadership requires skills such as communication to inspire others, knowing how to do the job well, passion for the company, empathy, “what is putting yourself in the shoes of others,” the ability to establish rules and ensure compliance with “governance” and all clarity where the organization is going.
In the current health crisis caused by the pandemic, I am sure that many bosses stood out for their ability to solve problems, make decisions, build trust, organize, and delegate work. But, since I am not only a consultant but also a shopper in supermarkets, I observe how employees do not always comply with the health protocols required by law, and one wonders why?
Biosafety and digitization are a disruptive change in the way of working that require a “Transformational Leadership.” Because to change an organization requires more than the fulfillment of functions, it is necessary to modify the habits that are part of its culture.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a digital transformation project with one of the largest chain stores in the United States. The experience allowed me to work in 20 cities in states like California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. I was able to observe the different subcultures that exist within an organization, partly because of the cultural diversity and the type of leadership and management that exists.
As a bi-cultural Hispanic, that is, I understand both cultures, Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic, I was able to observe the differences in the adoption of change and adapt the program designed by the consulting company of European origin.
Hispanics needed more emotional support, as I observed that many are afraid of changes and new technologies. Reinforcing the “yes you can” and we are going to achieve it was key, in addition to coaching for several days inside the store.
For all that, I believe that a leader must be very human to inspire and influence different groups.
I trained a total of approximately 800 people, between upper and middle management, and supported the redesign of the work from cashiers to store hosts. An effort that required a trajectory, a “path of change” in behavior and work habits with a corporate training program in order to close the development gap, what is called in the digital environment re-skill or up-skill of the employees.
According to a study by the consulting firm Deloitte, the development and learning gap varies by sector. In mass consumption, 93% of employees state that they need to improve their skills to be successful in the digital environment, while satisfaction regarding how the company is developing in a digital environment is only 14%.
In other words, companies have a lot to do to support the development of their talent, which will also be determined by the level of digital maturity of the organization.