Leadership Trends for 2024: What it Means to be Agile
2023 hit managers, especially frontline and middle level managers, hard. They were more likely than non-managers to be disengaged, burnt out and job hunting, and more likely to struggle with work-life balance and feel like their organization doesn’t care about their wellbeing (Gallup). This all inevitably trickles down to teams. Culture is a mirror of leadership after all. So, if your manager is burnt out and disengaged, their team will end up burnt out and disengaged over time too.
Managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement (Gallup), and in uncertain times like these, they need to be a port in the storm; someone employees can rely on. But only 23% of US employees fully trust their leaders (Gallup).
The key leadership trends for 2024? It’s no surprise to learn that they’re all about being more human. If our managers become more human, their teams will too.
Leadership is always evolving as the environment is always evolving. Due to the technology revolution, its evolving faster than it has before. There is no one-size-fits-all way to set managers up for success, and the old ways of developing them are already outdated. Faced with new challenges and opportunities, leadership trends in 2024 require managers to be agile, quickly adapting to the needs of their teams and adopting evolving leadership skills to become not just managers, but modern leaders.
Just for clarity. No one was born to lead. Humans have brains. Brains are designed to keep us alive. Effective leadership is about keeping your team alive. Therefore, we need to be developed on how to combat our brains primary protocols. You want engaged teams to build a high performing culture, you need engaged managers who create the environment for their teams to thrive.
Embracing Digital Transformation
Prioritizing Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
The young guns entering the workforce aren't asking for the moon; they just want to be treated like humans. Culture is their bread and butter. It’s #1 on their list.
We need to adapt to future leadership trends and that means swapping the tough love act for a more empathetic approach. Ruling with an iron fist? That doesn't fly anymore. Should never have. A leader who inspires fear is not a leader at all.
The future of leadership is about EQ (emotional intelligence); being self-aware, embracing vulnerability while regulating your emotions, and respecting, understanding, and uplifting the diverse voices in your workforce. Leaders who embrace the human skills of the modern workplace – clarity, autonomy, relationships and Equity™ (CARE) – get the hard stuff done.
Leaders trained by The CARE Experience are self-aware; they understand their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses, and can regulate their reactions. They consider both the rational and emotional aspects of decisions, to make choices that connect and resonate positively with their teams. CARE helps them to understand others’ emotions too, fostering positive communication, and building stronger, more trusting teams that do more than what is expected. Imagine that?
Advancing Human-First Culture Efforts
97% of organizations say they’ve made changes that improved DEI, but only 37% of employees agree (Harvard Business Review). We have to re-frame DEI. Isn’t DEI just about building human-centric organizations? DEI is culture, and culture is DEI.
Integrating Sustainable and Ethical Leadership Practices
Focusing on Mental Health and Well-Being
Adopting a Hybrid Workforce Model
Old-school practices won't fit the new way of work. You can’t navigate a new world with an outdated map. Leadership trends for 2024 tell us that leaders have to be intentional, caring architects.
Being intentional means reimagining how teams collaborate, communicate and contribute when boundaries blur. It means intentionally designed spaces that foster connection and collaboration and maintain employee well-being; leveraging tools to track progress and create a shared purpose that makes work fulfilling in the office and at home.
“I don’t trust people not to just watch Netflix,” say the dinosaurs. But how employees are managed has about four times as much influence on employee engagement and wellbeing as their work location. When they are engaged, hybrid workers also demonstrate even higher engagement, better overall wellbeing and lower turnover risk than fully on-site workers who are remote-capable (Gallup).
Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning
Under former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's returns weren't great – investing $1,000 in 2000 left you with only $702. Then came Satya Nadella, who struck people as an odd choice to shake things up, and who The Wall Street Journal called an “unproven quantity”.
Nadella said, "Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things." He prioritized empathy, humility, and learning, shifting Microsoft from a culture where your teammates were competition to a culture where teamwork fostered innovation. One of growth over fixed mindsets. Demonstrating toughness and resilience, he promoted learn-it-alls who shared their mistakes and connected others with a larger purpose.
It helped Microsoft – who had seemingly missed out on the mobile revolution and had become a technology laggard – to make big moves like embracing cloud technology and occupy a transformative leadership position in their industry.
Nadella's approach paid off big time; investing $1,000 on his first day in 2014 would be worth over $10,000 today. His message? Humility, empathy, and insatiable curiosity will carry us into this next age.
Personalizing Leadership Development Paths
Why is emotional intelligence crucial for leaders of the future?
It teaches leaders how to respect, understand, and uplift the diverse voices in their workforce. Leaders who CARE, who are self-aware, and can understand their and others’ emotions, consider both the rational and emotional aspects of decisions, to make choices that resonate positively with their teams. Teams become stronger, better at communicating with each other, and learn to trust each other.
What role does diversity play in modern leadership?
How can leaders maintain agility in a changing business environment?
It’s better on top!
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