Tap into the new leadership soul


I clearly remember the time when I started Viventis — it was 2001 that slipped into the post-dotcom bubble era. Many companies had stalled and the bear market caused low investor confidence. In hindsight, that event may have inspired me to start a recruiting company. Armed with the simple goal of connecting talent with opportunities, I got my foot in the door. And I’m glad I took that step.

Fast forward 20 years later, much has changed since then – and it’s not just easy to say.

The pandemic has created a crisis of an order of magnitude we have never experienced before. People struggled, businesses turned around, lifestyles changed. Even the value of leadership was questioned, driven by the success of the company. Leaders were more focused on strategy and lost the essential humanistic qualities that brought leadership and civilization to where they are today.

After a year and a half in this raging crisis, we should come to recognize a balance in management value and reformulate a new management DNA to lead through crisis and beyond. Here are the core characteristics or “soul” of a new leadership that is more human-centered and rooted in a sense of bold purpose.

1. Empathy

Being at the center is empathy, a winning quality that every leader should have. Empathy drives humanity, where leaders show care, kindness and solidarity with the people they lead. Great humility is required, which enables leaders to prioritize people over profits and support the well-being of all at every step of the way, especially in these challenging times.

Cultivating compassion is just as critical to helping you better reflect and show great care in connecting and dealing with your people’s immediate needs, removing barriers and encouraging a positive mindset to help your people think in success rather than failure .

Communication is a key factor in understanding your people’s needs and ambitions. Having strong interpersonal and collaboration skills will help you guide your teams effectively, build trust and credibility among stakeholders while empowering your employees to be more engaged and productive in their work.

With empathy, it fuels your motivation and drive to become a more active and visible leader in all aspects – to look beyond your influence to help others succeed in themselves. In the midst of this endless crisis, embracing authentic empathy is at the heart of any leader’s work.

Change agility

In a time of constant transformation and change, problems arise and develop daily. As leaders, we are challenged in our efforts to solve these problems. Change mobility is essential to sharpen our critical thinking and have the ability to understand the impact of the decisions we make and ensure its alignment with organizational goals and accountability for results.

Solving a problem does not stop at just delivering a solution. Leaders should be forward-thinking and anticipate future possible scenarios. As such, an intense curiosity will help you understand the world around you. Ask more questions, listen without judgment and be more open to the insights and opinions of others.

Since change is constant, we cannot allow ourselves to remain stagnant. Growth is an essential part of becoming a good leader, and developing a learning or growth mindset can help you succeed in the long run. As you embrace change and practice a growth mindset, you can open new doors to opportunity without being held back for fear of failure.

3. Resistance

Resiliency is an essential ingredient that will serve as “glue” to strengthen your mobility for change. With the slide of change, the pressure can be at its highest since our role as leaders is to keep our organizations afloat, better lead our teams and deal with our personal crises. Therefore, building one’s confidence and courage in the face of uncertainty can help you cope with any storm to move forward.

Combined with resilience, the release of your inner gravel and perseverance is important for you to adapt, survive and thrive with any difficulties you may experience as a leader. We need to look inward and tap into our inner “grislience” (gravel + resilience) so that we can become inspirational signs for those we lead and influence.

4. Digital dexterity

In addition to knowledge of various technologies and tools, digital dexterity is about the ability to use digital thinking to innovate and turn. In today’s turbocharged landscape, it encourages having an experimental and innovative mindset for research, taking risks, enduring failure and learning about new digital tactics and models to take advantage of untapped opportunities across the organization.

Being at the forefront of trends and leveraging technology to create more innovative ways of working for the future is crucial as a leader. Analytics and big data can help you uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and insights to make more data-informed decisions.

In addition, transformative thinking will stimulate your vision of disrupting the status quo through creative efforts to drive innovation within and outside your organization. Once you have applied this mindset, you can set the pace of building a sustainable digital advantage and ensure your and your organization’s long-term success.

These vital qualities can guide you to transform leadership that is humanistic, authentic, and transformative. Given the current situation, it may be necessary to reset your priorities and re-evaluate your mindset, as we are not just committed to a form of leadership that suits everyone. At the heart of these building blocks is the breakthrough we need to challenge past beliefs and adapt and inspire change to help us move forward.

More than just a guide, these serve as my personal reflections on the new era of Viventi’s 20th anniversary. For the past 20 years, I have learned, failed, re-learned, and seen tremendous change and progress. It is through riding the wave of change that can encourage us as leaders to truly thrive.

Charles Darwin best encapsulated how we can achieve continuity, growth and success in these unprecedented times: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. – CONTRIBUTION INQ

The author is a thought leader, founder and CEO of Viventis Search Asia, one of the nation’s leading providers of human capital solutions.

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