Happy New Year!! I hope 2024 got off to a happy and healthy start for you!! I rang in the New Year at the North Sea with family, and had a lovely quiet week on Amrum (my favourite place on earth). A beautiful start to this new year.
I am a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and do (for the most part! 😉) follow through on them. But this year, I’ve found a lot of the social media messaging around “New Year! New ME!” to be a bit off-putting. The underlying message is that we are somehow insufficient in our current state, and that doesn’t resonate with me. I *do* love learning new things; personal growth; professional development; and stretching outside my comfort zone. But more on my terms and as an addition to my skill set than a belief that I need to become someone entirely new.
Perhaps that’s why this year I feel a strong desire to nurture and nourish myself. The feeling is more one of slow, sustainable, healthy growth rather than rapid, boot-camp style change. How are you feeling about change and growth this year?
So, what topics are coming up in the leadership space this year? Let’s have a look!
I love this one. I’ve seen more and more people switching gears from talking about time management to thinking about energy management. As in: how can you utilize your energy so it works best for you? For example, if you are a morning person like me, you know that you do your best work in the morning. So in order to manage your energy, you would do your deep work / focus work in the morning and have meetings in the afternoon. Or if you know that the X meeting is going to be challenging, you might schedule it during your maximum energy phase of the day. Becoming aware of when you have the most energy, and also who/what gives you energy and who/what drains your energy is key here.
As this Forbes article outlines, “ ‘do you have the energy to participate in certain things—whether it be outings, tasks, or socializing? You can have time, but you may not have energy.” When we approach tasks with plenty of time but not much energy, we may find it more difficult to focus and tackle our to-do lists.”
Their suggestions for how to practice energy management:
- Recognize what gives you energy – and what takes it away
- Look out for signs that you’re out of energy
- Prioritize your inputs
Inputs are what give you energy. To that end, I’ve revived my 20/20/20 morning routine, and am getting up half an hour earlier to make sure I get that “me time” that I crave. I do 20 minutes of journaling, 20 minutes of meditation, and 20 minutes of reading. It’s only been a week but already I feel like I have more energy as a result!!
James Clear agrees:
“I have learned that whenever I think “I don’t have enough time to do that” what I usually mean is “I don’t have enough energy” or “I am not actually interested in doing this.”
What I need to do a better job of is not managing my time, but rather caring for myself and identifying my true interests. When I am well rested and working on something I am genuinely excited about, finding time is rarely a problem.”
Such a mindset shift!
Up until recently, there were more CEOs named John than female CEOs. As of 2023, there were 60 James/Robert/John CEOs compared to 41 women, so there has been some (glacial) progress. Going forward, leadership is hopefully going to become increasingly diverse.
“We must champion diversity and inclusion to foster a culture where authenticity thrives, so that everyone can reach their fullest potential.” says Mary Ann Yule, president and CEO of HP Canada. “This requires planning, goal setting, mentorship, and resilience – viewing setbacks as stepping-stones to success. It’s time to challenge and dismantle biases against women, and create a world that elevates women’s experiences, voices and ideas. ” I could not agree more!!!
According to Adam Grant [in one of the most joyous and funny podcast interviews I’ve heard in ages!], there are a few steps we need to take in order to diversify leadership:
- Stop confusing confidence for competence.
- Stop falling for the superficial charm of narcissists. They don’t actually know what they’re talking about.
- Stop assuming that the person who talks the most is the most capable. That’s called the Babble Effect and it’s a real thing. That’s usually the person who’s the most insecure, not the person who’s best suited to guide the group.
- Let’s look at whether people make those around them better. At whether they’re more interested in making the room smarter than being the smartest person in the room.
Absolutely brilliant suggestions!!
LEADERSHIP IN THE HYBRID ERA…
How can we develop better as leaders in the hybrid era? And how can we BE better leaders in that era as well? The Harvard Business Review ran an interesting experiment on exactly this, testing out a few theories.
“Traditional leadership development tells us that 70% of learning happens through on-the-job experience, 20% through feedback, and 10% through formal training. Research conducted over the past three years points to an alternative — and, we believe, more effective — framework for the process that emphasizes three actions: sensemaking, or understanding how the business world and the organization works around you; experimenting, or testing ideas; and self-discovery, or figuring out your own identity in the workplace. […] The experiment also pointed to new best practices for hybrid leadership development: programs should be iterative and experimental, embedded in day-to-day work, supported by coaching, and span all modes of delivery from all-virtual to fully in person.”
As we leave the pandemic behind and fully embrace the post-pandemic hybrid era, new leadership styles will be needed to ensure that companies and employees alike are developing – and developed – to their maximum potential.
AND A FEW MORE TOPICS TO WATCH FOR…
One skill that will become even more of a differentiator in this new era is the ability to focus and do deep work. Artificial Intelligence may be able to do a fair number of things more quickly and better than humans, but thinking is not one of them. Being able to do the deep work, creative thinking, and working with emotional intelligence will be hallmarks of successful leaders.
The Accidental Creative podcast interviewed Cal Newport, who wrote THE book on Deep Work and Cal made some really interesting points. Worth a listen!
(I can also highly recommend Stolen Focus by Johann Hari while we’re on the topic.)
And of course no list of Topics to Watch would be complete without AI on the list! Fast Company lists AI as one of the top five leadership trends to watch. As they state: “We’ve been polling hundreds of talent executives, and there’s wide agreement that at least 50% of the skills leaders need today are skills they don’t yet have. And the other 50% are skills that were always needed, but are now required at much higher levels. We need new models for leadership that take into account these dynamics.”
What topics are on *your* radar for 2024?
WHAT I’M READING…
Earlier this year, I read an article in the newspaper about a German author who writes really excellent thrillers. She had just come out with a new book, but the article also referenced her first book – the premise of which totally grabbed me.
Melanie Raabe’s first novel, Die Falle / The Trap, is the story of Linda Conrads, a bestselling author who suffers from such panic attacks that she hasn’t left her house in 11 years. She’s completely shut off from the world, and lives only inside her house. The root of this challenging situation is that Linda’s older sister, Anna, was murdered 12 years previously. Linda herself discovered her sister’s body, and when she did so also caught sight of – and made eye-contact with – her sister’s murderer.
Fast forward 12 years and she sees the unforgettable face of Anna’s murderer on TV. He’s a famous journalist. So she decides to write a new novel in which she sets a trap for him, to finally get justice for her sister once and for all.
But was he really the one who killed her sister?!? You really don’t know until the very end. I won’t spoil it for you, but I was completely hooked by this story. I had no idea what the truth was – and which way it would go. A really great psychological thriller!
Writing this has made me even more excited for and enthusiastic about the coming year. So many interesting topics on the horizon! Hope you feel a bit the same!
Wishing you a magical 2024 filled with physical, mental, emotional, social and physiological nourishment!!
Be emotional. Stay healthy.