As we enter 2024, it seems appropriate to look ahead – but also to look back. Over the past few years, corporations – and all of their leaders – have faced unprecedented challenges. The biggest was COVID-19, and all the disruptions accompanying the pandemic. Fortunately, many of those challenges appear to be behind us. However, public health officials continue to emphasize the potential for another spread of that virus, or another one that we have not yet seen. However, the one thing that COVID-19 taught us is to always be prepared for unexpected challenges. With this in mind, David Rock, National Leadership Institute founder and CEO, identified key issues that could impact leaders in 2024.
Neuro Leadership Institute identified five challenges that most leaders will likely face in 2024. First, a new type of leader appears to be emerging. This “new type” of leader must build a sense of collegiality and community with persons who rarely, if ever, meet in the same building. Many of our client organizations remain working remotely – generally at home – a significant portion of each week. And, just as importantly, meetings among many leaders will likely be conducted via computer-based meeting apps, such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. Leading a group – with little in-person interaction – is a challenge many leaders have never faced until recently.
Related to this first challenge, leaders must also remake the approach that they utilize to “develop” their leaders. The days of in-person seminars, training programs, etc., no longer exist. Instead, people must develop themselves in a variety of remote situations. Therefore, leadership development has become a more “solitary” endeavor. Unfortunately, this minimizes one of the most effective development activities – learning from each other/colleagues. Again, leading organizations have incorporated various types of “small groups” – even if they are remotely based – to allow interaction among the members of the training program so that everyone can experience “participative learning” in their training efforts.
Thirdly, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) must be incorporated into all training/development efforts. Understanding all types of bias, and then addressing them and eliminating them as much as possible, is essential for any development effort to succeed. Therefore, senior leaders and the leaders of any development program/effort must be prepared to address all types of DEI challenges directly and effectively. In the leadership development program of many organizations, DEI is specifically integrated into the entire effort.
Fourth — a truly critical topic/issue – performance management must be addressed in an entirely new manner. As mentioned above, since development efforts, along with many other activities, are now done remotely, leaders must accurately measure employee performance when there is little direct interaction between the leader and their team members. Therefore, the establishment of objectives, key activities, etc., must be very specific so that both the leader and the team member/employee understand exactly what each of them is expected to do/achieve. Unlike in yesterday’s world, leaders are not necessarily able to “see” how an employee is performing/acting and then be able to quickly discuss an issue, problem, etc., as it may have been occurring. Now, actions need to be displayed, documented, etc., in a manner that allows the outcome to be measured against the employee’s performance objectives.
Finally, leaders must be prepared for whatever Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings into their organization. As David Rock stated, “2024 looks to be a breakthrough year for artificial intelligence, which has already started to transform marketing, sales, customer service, and many other functions.” In fact, the 2023 writers’ strike exemplifies the anxiety many employees feel over AI disruption and the future of their work. (Rock, D, The Forecast for 2024? Continued Uncertainty for Leaders, Fast Company, December 2024).
Although it is nearly impossible to accurately predict the future, many experts agree that several – if not all – of these challenges will occur sometime in 2024. Therefore, the leaders who are as prepared as possible will be able to perform best in what appears to be a very unpredictable 2024!
For over 25 years, E.A.S.I.-Consult® has been helping companies identify – and develop – the most successful leaders for their organization. As a leading company in researching and identifying key capabilities necessary for any situations – including unpredictable leadership challenges – we assist organizations reach their full potential.
Joseph Gier, Ph.D. is Vice President – Consulting Services at E.A.S.I-Consult and is a licensed Psychologist. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized organizations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. Utilizing scientific approaches, E.A.S.I.-Consult provides superior results for a wide variety of businesses. Our specialties include leadership and leadership potential assessment, online employment assessment, customized skills assessment, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. To learn more about E.A.S.I.-Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com, or call 800.922.EASI.