Connected Leadership Needs a Robust Framework to Succeed

Aakriti Agarwal-
Aakriti Agarwal

Aakriti Agarwal is Director, Customer Marketing – Numly™, Inc. The views expressed are her own.

Digital explosion, market disruptions, eroding trust, an uncertain future, and an accelerating pace of change. These are some of the many complex problems that leaders today must navigate through. Dated, authoritarian leadership styles no longer serve the purpose. Today’s business environment needs a new leadership style that can create collaborative, agile, and resilient organizations.

Globalization, increasing innovation, accelerating technology adoption, and the rapid pace of change in jobs and skill requirements are leading people to regain more control over their lives. While authoritarian leadership might seem appealing because it appears to be more action-oriented and projects decisiveness, it is time to ask ourselves, is this the kind of leadership that people want/need today?

Let’s take Ben and Nancy as an example. Both work in the same enterprise and are learning how to lead their teams to success in this new, hybrid world where remote teams and in-premise teams have to be more connected than ever before.

Ben has been a successful manager in the past and has a directional style of leading. His team dynamics are often strained and gaining consensus is often challenging. He finds it hard to make his team collaborate and function as one cohesive unit, no matter how much direction he gives.

Nancy’s team, on the other hand, has navigated the change and disruption with greater ease. Nancy, since becoming the manager, has been focused on building a co-creative relationship with her team, where she is more of a facilitator and enabler of their success. Nancy’s team members are solution-driven and fearless when it comes to asking for help. The team collaborates seamlessly, communicates their goals and aspirations openly and are generally more productive and innovative than other teams.

Could this change be because Nancy provides a connected, non-judgemental, and enabling environment while Ben believes in leveraging his knowledge and providing instructions only? Between the two, Nancy provides guidance and gives people the space to excel. Ben, on the other hand, does not make people see the opportunities for growth by giving them the space to be vulnerable.

The world is now more connected than ever before. In this connected world, can disconnected leadership survive or lead enterprises successfully? Leaders can succeed only when they move away from dated, hierarchical command and control leadership styles and move towards one that builds connection.

Connected leaders are deeply empathetic, highly self-aware, and can effectively build trust and equity across a distributed work environment.

Deconstructing the Connected Leadership Framework 

The skills set of connected leaders ensure that they engage more meaningfully with their team members and navigate the multiple dimensions influencing work adeptly. However, enterprises need to create an organization-wide framework to support the development of such leaders.

This framework has to ensure a connection between five critical dimensions around any company’s “Flow of Work”.

These five dimensions include Self, Team, Projects, Others, and Organization and have to be connected seamlessly through clear communication, focus on inclusion, creative problem solving, and collaboration.

A clear focus on developing all of these areas is essential to develop connected leaders in today’s world of work.

Let’s understand this in more detail.

Leading Self 

A high degree of self-awareness is the hallmark of the connected leader. Self-awareness comes from gaining a clear understanding of an individual’s beliefs and thinking patterns.

Identifying limiting beliefs and a clear, unbiased, and non-judgmental evaluation of the belief system and the conscious and unconscious biases at work is instrumental in developing self-awareness.

This part of the connected leadership framework helps leaders learn the skills and behaviors focused on self-improvement, self-development, and self-management. A self-aware leader, for example, will be highly aware of their triggers and will not react when their team or business experiences some unpleasant challenges. This leader will be more responsive and not reactive to difficult situations.

Leading Teams 

As the world of work becomes hybrid, the connected leadership framework helps enterprise leaders adopt the right behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets needed to build connection, trust, and engagement across teams.

The framework helps leaders

  • Identify the challenges inhibiting teamwork and impeding team performance.
  • Develop critical leadership skills like empathy and active listening to help people become more solution driven.
  • Identify the best ways to engage with team members as individuals and as a collective and do not pitch well-being and productivity as opposing goals.

The framework also provides the skills to drive clear and impactful feedback and allows leaders to have meaningful conversations with their team members.

Leading Projects 

Developing robust and resilient project management skills is critical in today’s workplace where multiple generations are working together.

Skills like collaboration and communication become important for successful and timely project completion. Other key skills like goal setting, conflict management, building trust, and even change management in a disparate work environment are essential to developing strong connected leaders.

The connected leadership framework

  • Contextually identifies the skill needs of leaders at different stages of their leadership journey and helps them fill those gaps.
  • Ensures that leaders learn how to drive influence and teamwork while increasing collaboration and empowerment within diverse teams, and fostering a psychologically safe, performance-driven work environment that treats people fairly and equitably.

Leading Others 

Connected leaders help their team members build their individual levels of self-aware to influence performance and engagement at work.

The connected leadership framework enables the leaders of today

  • Lead others effectively, empathetically, and contextually.
  • Create impactful diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Build a workplace that is equitable and psychologically safe.

Connected leaders coach their teams to success. Hence, learning the art and science of coaching becomes important for them.

The framework offers leaders the key skills like coaching, active listening, problem-solving, etc. that they will need to drive influence, inspire inclusion, and champion diversity.

Leading Organizations 

As VUCA keeps the world of work in a state of constant disruption, building resilience across teams and the organization becomes a key leadership priority. However, to build resilience across the organization, leaders need to become resilient first.

With the connected leadership framework leaders

  • Learn the skills and behaviors needed to lead and develop organizations with multiple teams and departments.
  • Drive transformational change within organizations.
  • Increase collaboration and empowerment within diverse teams and focus on well-being and psychological safety in the workplace by building the right connections across teams and individuals.

Benefits of The Connected Leadership Framework 

The connected leadership framework helps organizations create a healthy connected leadership pipeline by breaking talent silos.

It leverages the power of coaching to help leaders remain on the path of self-awareness and continuous learning without the fear of judgment.

This is an organization-wide framework that fosters career growth and drives engagement by providing a well-structured learning environment. Such an environment helps leaders achieve their aspirations and grow within their organizations.

Interconnecting people via coaching cohorts across different departments and allowing them to expand their network then becomes organic. It provides teams, individuals, and leaders access to structured and continuous learning opportunities through built-in programs, coaching guidance, and continuous skill pathways to move up the corporate ladder.

Data-driven and insightful analytics accurately measure skill gaps to drive contextual programs. It also enables data-backed decisions regarding skill needs and enhancement opportunities.

Connected leaders empower and support people to grow their skills to accommodate the future. They do not rely on manipulation and control to build agile and high-performing teams. It happens by leading through influence and engagement. By building connected leaders, organizations eliminate the need for traditional management control mechanisms. They can scale teams to deliver phenomenally higher levels of performance using compassion, empathy, and trust to influence networked teams and people.

Is the connected leadership skills framework what your organization needs to navigate this new world of work? Learn more about how Numly’s Connected Leadership  Framework can help your organization create better leaders and better teams today!




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