If we want to put our people first, we need to have the vital supplies to become our best selves as the priority. Being a leader is much more than a job title. Success in the new digital working climate will rely on our ability to engage and inspire others. And this means we may need to cultivate a deeper connection with what it is to be human within ourselves, and then for our people.

Prepare for take-off!

Can you remember your last flight? The safety instructions by the flight attendants tell passengers to put on their oxygen mask first. Before attempting to help anyone else, in case of emergency. This analogy is not meant to encourage selfish leadership behaviours. It’s to ensure we are at our best so that we can interact effectively with key people. Not just during a crisis, but also beyond. By cultivating optimal levels of physical, mental, emotional and yes, even spiritual wellness, leaders can communicate and role model what they want to see in their organisation.

This will in turn drive motivation and engagement. And these are the elements often lacking in remote and hybrid workplaces. Because it is through connection at the ‘heart and soul-level’ that most transformational change happens. When this happens performance can take a quantum leap to a higher level. By engaging the deeper motivations of people by creating the right climate, leaders can release an additional supply of energy and capability.

The heart and soul of peak performance

When we use the common expression, “he/she put their heart and soul into the project” – we describe this additional supply. As leaders we need to create the conditions where people want to contribute at this level. And to express a level of commitment and skill that will deliver success in this changing world.

According to a recent McKinsey survey, skill building is becoming common practice. Guess what? Social and emotional skills are in the highest demand. Skill building is more important today than it was prior to the pandemic. 69 percent of organisations are doing more skill building now than they did before the pandemic hit. With the rapid, pandemic-induced workplace changes, such as digitisation and remote work, organisations now require talent with different skillsets to support their business priorities.

And we need to focus on closing these skill gaps as we build back better in the post-Covid economy.

The survey highlighted the most important talent development skills, which are emotional and social in nature – notably leadership, empathy, and adaptability.  Between 71 and 90 percent of respondents stated that investment into learning has had a positive impact on their abilities. Key outcomes such as to realise company strategy, employees’ performance and satisfaction, and enhancing reputation as an employer. In addition, investing into people pays off as reskilling yields positive economic returns for UK employers. Not to mention the additional benefits such as increased productivity and improved employee morale.

Key skills for the new normal

The pandemic has shown us how critical interpersonal skills and resilience really are. And that they require different ways of learning to be cultivated. To emerge stronger from the crisis, now is the time for organisations to invest in developing leaders who will gain mastery of themselves first, and then to create the right climate for people in a dispersed work situations to be willing and able to take full responsibility for achieving success.

We all need to apply the lessons from the past year to address our current and future skill needs. At Soul Corporations®, we are leaders who can ignite emotion and purpose in others to deliver key strategies. We create deeper levels of personal motivation, transform the customer experience, and build high-performing teams and leaders who drive their organisation forward – with soul. To find out how you could drive your organisation forward with soul, connect with our team to book a complimentary consultation at nick@soulcorporations.com. Or call me on +44(0)7778-356954.