The pandemic has altered many aspects of the world, including what your boss might need to help you succeed.
Caitlin Duffy, director of research at consulting firm Gartner, asserts that employees now more than ever require more compassion and flexibility from their managers due to the mounting anxiety and stress, both at home and at work, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Duffy, the pandemic "has made their personal and professional lives fuse together."
What today's employees need
Over two years into the pandemic, Gartner has conducted extensive research on what employees now demand of their managers. Gartner discovered that it all comes down to a concept known as "human leadership" after reviewing academic articles, polling thousands of workers, and conducting interviews.
It is a term used to describe bosses who inspire through empathetic behaviour. Duffy said they also make adjustments to accommodate the particular needs of their staff members and encourage self-expression to foster a happier and more effective workplace.
Unfortunately, it is rare to find a boss like that. According to a 2022 Gartner survey, 29% of workers believe their managers are good at leading people.
Duffy notes that this is a problem because the pandemic's psychological impact has led to a "permanent change in the workforce" that calls for human leadership with empathy and adaptability.
"Employees now expect leaders at work to address all of their personal needs that have become more complex and sensitive over the last few years," she added.
Human leadership = more engaged employees
And the winners are not just the employees. According to research by Gartner, workplaces with supervisors who exhibit human leadership typically have employees who are significantly more engaged with their work, improving overall performance.
In addition, the business discovered improvements in employees' general well-being, increasing the likelihood of sticking around rather than looking for another job.
The effects extend beyond the employees themselves. It affects the business in the long run.
Here are the three main characteristics of human leadership, whether you are looking for a more understanding boss or you are a manager looking for ways to meet your employees' needs better:
Being more authentic at work is encouraged by a boss who encourages self-expression. A genuine manager might, for instance, invite staff members to contribute fresh ideas to the team or to express their emotions in the wake of tense social and political developments.
By being vulnerable, your boss can ensure that their staff members feel free to express their ideas and sentiments. Leaders must extend invitations for employees to bring their whole selves to work and take the initiative first.
This kind of manager genuinely cares about, respects, and is interested in the welfare of their staff.
Recognising your employees' struggles, whether they involve burnout, mental health issues, or a family emergency, can show that you are an empathic employer. It might also take the form of setting up a private area at work where they can discuss their personal issues and experiences.
The final quality is adaptability, which entails being a manager who gives your staff members flexibility. It involves identifying the particular needs of each of your employees and providing individual support for them.
For instance, a flexible manager might allow one employee to work from home more often if they need to take care of a sick relative. If an employee feels mentally worn out, the boss may permit them to take more breaks during the workday.
Duffy added that leaders must adjust to employees' desire for a personalised experience. These characteristics might have been crucial for leadership in the past, but they are now essential.