Making predictions is tricky.
The business environment is changing at a pace we have never seen, which makes getting predictions correct nearly impossible.
For the last seven years, I have written a column dedicated to making predictions for leaders in the workplace in the coming year. It's finally 2022, which means a new round of leadership predictions. Last year's list aged reasonably well so before we get into the latest predictions, let's take a quick look at how we did:
Thanks to HR Executives looking for new ways to develop leaders remotely, combined with technology and funding in the space, professional coaching has never been more accessible. If that wasn't enough, more managers took proactive steps to act and behave like coaches to their people. For example, we had a record number of signups for the Coaching for Excellence workshop, and thousands downloaded the 8 Coaching Questions Toolkit.
Unfortunately, this didn't indeed come to fruition. The character of leaders didn't end up mattering as much as their competence, which is sad. However, I am not giving up on character counting because ultimately, people want to work with and for leaders who do what is right, not what's convenient or profitable.
The mental health crisis is real, but it hasn't truly hit us yet. As freeing and flexible as remote work has been on people, burnout and resignation are at an all-time high. There have been significant strides in people bringing their authentic selves to work, but it's not commonplace just yet.
The great resignation has caused more organizational leaders to settle for average performance because of a lack of talent. While standards for performance were raised, the reality of a limited talent pool is real.
This prediction looked the most solid of all of them until Omicron showed up and in-person events were canceled, and a return to the office was delayed again. There are certainly signs of people moving forward with in-person events regardless of the Covid situation, but it's not close to back to normal levels pre-pandemic.
The great resignation is absolute. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of American workers quitting their jobs hit record highs in November, with 4.5 million people leaving jobs. As the problem continues to grow, leaders have had to continue adapt and change.
On a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, Davin Salvagno, Founder of Purpose Point and creator of The Purpose Summit, told me, "People have had 18 months of autonomy and flexibility, and in many cases, it's worked. So when you have an environment like that, companies and leaders have to give people a reason to stay."
The best companies and leaders give people a reason to stay beyond money.
While traditional thinking would be to offer more money, the best leaders look beyond money. They find new ways to invest in their people, provide learning opportunities, and celebrate their progress.
Whenever the Covid-19 pandemic moves to an endemic status, companies that still have expensive real estate will reinstate a return to office policy. However, this will be welcomed for some employees, and others will struggle to embrace a daily return to the office.
Regardless of which camp you are in, remote work in some capacity has cemented itself in the workplace. This means that executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year. They will leverage great meeting places, exotic destinations, experiential team-building activities, and nice dinners as vehicles to build solid relationships and strategize for success.
Executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year.
Inflation and the cost of living continue to skyrocket. While automation is software is changing jobs, something has to give when it comes to people and their salaries. To adapt to this, organizations must empower leaders to provide raises to their people that better aligns with the value they deliver.
This will be exceedingly difficult when the demands from executive teams to double EBITA contributions continue to happen year in and year out.
There will be a point where smaller privately held companies get a leg up on publicly traded companies in the war for talent because they can compensate their people better.
Since remote work has cemented itself in the future, output and production speak for themselves. It's evident if team members are doing the job or not. Managers have noticed and are making candid accountability a priority in their leadership approach.
I define Accountability in Building the Best as; the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner. It is the obligation of leaders to account for their actions and the actions of their people.
Accountable leaders provide a path for personal improvement and team performance.
Organizations will provide additional training for managers around how to have difficult conversations, and the best leaders will leverage accountability better in one-on-ones.
Gartner recently predicted 30% of teams won't have bosses by 2024. I don't see it this way because leaderless teams don't work. However, this is the year bad leaders aren't tolerated.
With increased engagement surveys, manager assessments (360°), and employee resignations, hiding lousy leadership is more challenging than ever. Managers will be held accountable for their voluntary turnover numbers, and if they don't show progress, they will be replaced by someone that can.
This one is the most controversial of all. With the rapid rise of NFT's, Crypto, side hustles, and various ways to make money online, leaders will start to embrace the idea that their team members have multiple ways to generate compensation for themselves.
I would go as far as to say that the companies that embrace this idea and encourage their people to have multiple ways to make money will retain their best talent.
Whatever the future holds for leaders, it will require flexible thinking, rapid action and elevating others. I hope you are in that headspace because the current leadership environment will pass you by if you aren't.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.