What Are The 8 Hot Leadership Questions I Have Been Asked In 2023, And How Will They Shake Your Leadership?

According to my consulting, speaking and coaching clients, the coming year will challenge leaders and employees to find balance and a new purpose at work.

Companies everywhere have been struggling to find top talent.  Yet when they do hire quality employees, they often don’t prioritize career growth or flexibility to nurture and retain their talent for the long run.

A lot has changed over the past few years in the face of challenging world events, including the hot leadership topics and workforce trends that companies must stay ahead of to retain top talent.

1.  How do I create positive work cultures?

Work culture has taken its biggest hit in decades.  With more employees dispersed than ever, workplaces traditionally in person see their talent drawn to greener pastures.  There’s a risk of toxic “bubbles” building within companies that don’t appear to offer all their people the same flexibility consistently and fairly.

According to the Leaders I work with, workplaces will continue to become more diverse, flexible, dispersed, and challenging.  As a result, leaders will play a more vital role in creating positive and magnetic work cultures for their teams.  More inclusive and empathetic leaders can prevent toxic cultures from emerging and better foster and sustain the positive work connections that help retain key talent.

2.  How do I move to real commitment?

All the changes in the world outside of work have fueled a strong desire from employees to see companies commit to new ways of doing things.  Employees and consumers are voicing a stronger desire to see companies embrace changes to address significant challenges in business and society.

How can companies find the best path to success while growing a talented workforce that wants to stay with them through challenges?

Will more companies come to adopt a 4-day work week?  There are strong signals that a reduced work schedule may better meet the needs of the modern workforce.  However, when companies decide to move forward, they must understand that people want to see real change, not return to the old way of doing things.

3.  Management—the burden fewer want to bear

A growing sense of crisis and change fatigue has been sinking in for leaders, many of whom have been overwhelmed by talent losses amidst rising inflation and hiring costs.  As a result, companies are seeing an increased risk to their most critical talent pool that can’t be satisfied only by increased pay.

Considering how crucial frontline leadership will be to retaining all their other talent, companies must quickly prioritize leadership development and support before they take on critical losses at higher levels.  This may mean extending leave time and other benefits to reduce the growing risk of burnout for leaders, who historically have been rewarded by bonuses alone.

4.  Hybrid and remote teams seek stronger connections.

It’s lonely out there for many workers, especially those who are hybrid and don’t find connections as meaningful as companies might expect.  According to a recent study on work loneliness, building lasting relationships isn’t about how much in-person time people are exposed to but about the closeness, security, and support they get in their interpersonal relationships.  This means that even an in-person or hybrid work environment could fulfill the interpersonal needs of only some and not others.

How employees connect matters more than where they connect, so developing leaders with more effective interpersonal skills will help foster stronger team connections, no matter where they work.

5.  How do I shift from “Great Resignation” to “Great Retention.”

As companies face the reality of operating in leaner, more expensive times, they have a greater need for retaining top talent.  No matter what the buzzword du jour (and there have been a lot of them this year), it’s clear there are immense pressures to find and keep their best people.  For many, this leads to a sharper focus on identifying high-potential talent and finding ways to mobilize and share their skills internally.

6.  Soft skills rise to the forefront of leadership.

Influencers’ mentions of the leadership skills most needed in the workplace this year focused on critical interpersonal skills (e.g., empathy, emotional intelligence, communication, influence, etc.).  Although they have always been important, these skills have gained attention as the workforce has had to confront increasing change and crisis after crisis.

Leaders have had to navigate more human and personal discussions with their teams, which can be challenging if power skills aren’t equipped.  Leaders will need to continue to develop these skills to manage teams well.  Leaders with stronger interpersonal skills will continue to be vital in helping teams manage the changes ahead, especially when building stronger relationships in hybrid and remote teams.

7.  The new employee learning imperative

Accessibility is quickly becoming an imperative in employee learning and development.  Employees want to learn to grow their careers, which is critical to retaining talent.  So, companies must be able to deliver quality learning experiences to employees anywhere—whether they are in person, hybrid, or remote.

Since employee learning starts the moment they onboard a new company, their impressions about what learning quality they will receive can quickly take shape, not to mention their beliefs of what kind of place it will be like to work at.  As companies grow more flexible and dispersed, so must their learning experiences.  To better meet employees’ needs for flexibility, companies must provide great employee experiences that are equally accessible.

These seven questions prove we are not returning to “normal.”

So, we are all faced with the question: “Where do I place my bets?” 

I want you to place your bet On Your People.

There is no better bet at this time.

If you’d like to have a quick conversation with me about how betting on yourself can yield massive returns, here is the link to my schedule.  I look forward to it.

Is Your Team Ready For That Big Change – 9 Questions To Check

There is a proverb that teaches that it is both a curse and a blessing to live in interesting times.

Most of my clients are facing a change or a looming disruption, much like the advent of autonomous and electric trucks in the motor transportation industry.

We, the leaders of organizations, invest inordinate amounts of time in looking over the horizon, divining the future and developing strategic plans to protect and defend our organization or to prepare to exploit the disruption for growth and success.

Leaders and their organizations fail to prepare their people for the disruption and whatever the impact of that means to them, their career, their families and their dinner-plates.

watch the article where I explore why people are afraid of change

Because the leadership has spent all that time thinking, considering, and envisaging the change, they feel like they are already living in that new place where cats sleep with dogs, it only rains at night, and it is just enough to keep the golf course green.

Our employees only see the change in the area of old maps labelled ‘There Be Dragons.’

How prepared is your organization?

Click the image to download this 9-question assessment to see if you are ready to change ….

If you are not scoring 4s and 5s across the board, your big plans are at risk of being eaten by the dragon.

I have seen battles lost, money squandered, and opportunities frittered away because we have not brought our people along.

Clarity thru the Grace of Pauses And The Hardy Boys

With apologies to Victor Frankl, as leaders, we must learn to embrace the pause between the stimuli we receive from a million sources.

Who has never received a stimulus from our employees, coworkers, bosses, family, or customers?

And who has never responded too quickly?

This week, listen to Steve’s boyhood shoplifting experience and a series of gracious pauses that impacted his life and his leadership style.

And how we can use that moment to be better bosses.

The 6 Secret T’s To Know What To Delegate

 Do you feel overwhelmed at work?

If yes, you are not alone. According to a recent Deloitte survey of 2,500 organizations in 90 countries, two-thirds of managers say they’re overwhelmed.

This is a problem; your responsibility is to ensure the company succeeds.

The result is that managers and leaders take on too much work. A survey by eVoice found that 44% of entrepreneurs reported wearing five or more hats in their business at any time.

The answer is to delegate more effectively.

Delegate so you can spend more time on strategic decisions.

You should delegate every task that DOES NOT move you closer to achieving your objectives.

But how can you decide which tasks to delegate and what you should keep control of yourself?

Jenny Blake, in a Harvard Business Review article, suggests we conduct an audit using the six T’s to determine what tasks make the most sense to offload:

Tiny: Tasks that are so small they seem inconsequential to tackle, but they add up. They are never urgent, and even if they only take a few minutes, they make you out of the flow of more strategic work. For example, they are registering for a conference or event, adding it to your calendar, and booking the hotel and flight — on their own. These things may not take much time, but they all add up.

Tedious: Relatively simple tasks are not the best use of your time and can (and should) be handled by anyone but you. For example, you manually input a 100-item list into a spreadsheet and colour-coding it or update the KPIs in your presentation deck.

Time-Consuming: Although they may be significant and even somewhat complex, tasks are time-consuming and do not require you to do the initial 80% of research. You can quickly step in when the task is 80% complete and give approval, oversight and direction on the next steps.

Teachable: Tasks that, although complicated-seeming at first and possibly comprising several smaller subtasks, can be translated into a system and passed along, with you still providing quality checks and final approval and, for example, teaching one of your direct reports how to draft the presentation deck for the monthly all-hands meeting and even how to be the one to deliver those updates to the team.

Terrible At: Tasks that not only do not fall into your strengths but an area where you feel unequipped. You take far longer than people skilled in this area and still produce a subpar result. For example, designing those PowerPoint slides for the team meeting.

Time Sensitive: Tasks that are time-sensitive but compete with other priorities; there isn’t enough to do them all at once, so you delegate an essential and time-sensitive task to be done parallel to your other project-based deadlines.

Once you have decided what to give away, learn how by reading “The #1 Secret “ & 4 Tips You Need To Know To Delegate.”

Being A Drunk – You Can’t Change Into Being A Better Leader If It Is Counter To Your Values

In the most recent Better Leader Inner Circle, we discussed developing your personal transition plan to become a better leader.

But where you want to end up MUST be aligned with your values.

You see, no one is perfect. Not you, and certainly not me.

None of us is all that we could be. At the core of any successful change is a compelling need to create something different – to move toward something desirable. 

I wanted to be better, but my drinking was getting in the way.

My desire to be a more effective leader had to be rooted in values.

Once I understood my values, I used them as the foundation for a Better version of myself.

This is as true for organizational and work cultures as yours.

Hear my story by clicking the video below:

And learn more about when my values clashed with my being better:

7 Steps To Leading in A Crisis: Don’t Be an Ass

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence To Be a Better Leader 

Maya Angelou, Imposters, 50% Rules & 4 Traps To Avoid

The legendary poet and activist Maya Angelou once said about herself: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’ll find me out.”


Are you faking it until you make it?

Can you move past the imposter syndrome to the following levels of personal confidence and, thereby, the next level of leadership competencies?

You need to understand a few inalienable thoughts.

To transition successfully, leaders must become good students of their own experience and remain open to adapting their mindset and behaviour.


The 50-Percent Rule

The 50-percent Rule goes like this:

Half of what made you successful in the past is essential to success in your next role.

And half of what made you successful in the past won’t help in your next part and may get in the way of success.

The thing is, no one can tell you which half is which!


Transition Traps

Without attending to the 50-percent Rule, leaders easily fall into any of the following transition traps:

  • The big speech.
  • There’s a new sheriff in town.
  • I know what good looks like.
  • Get stuff done at any cost.

Trap No. 1: The Big Speech

The big speech is precisely that: trying to be articulate early on, tying the business and yourself into a nice bow.

The trap is that you, the leader, mentally check the box that you have been clear, but everyone else remains in wait-and-see mode or thinks, “I’ve heard that before.” 

Trap No. 2: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Some leaders intend to be candid about their expectations, ensuring everyone knows who is now in charge. They may think they are telling people how to be successful.

If the leader isn’t clear on what distinguishes high from underperforming, they drive honest conversation underground and foster a rumour mill about who might be in the doghouse—or worse. 

Read More About the New Sheriff

Trap No. 3: I Know What Good Looks Like 

Ironically, leaders can fall into this trap precisely because they desire to share best practices. The first time a leader in transition offers benchmark comparisons of how similar issues were handled at their last company, people listen attentively. But by the fourth or fifth time, the same people discretely roll their eyes or mentally recite the benchmark story they have heard too many times.

The trap is that leaders isolate themselves from the people they want to work with.

Trap No. 4: Get Stuff Done at Any Cost 

As you up your leadership game, you may commit to driving the change that previously could not be achieved. You may start leaning on people until the shift occurs. Progress may be realized at the cost of creating a reputation for being unreasonable and dismissive.

By falling into this trap, you will be forced into investing time in rebuilding your brand, re-establishing relationships, and discovering ways not to alienate everyone around you. 


What can you do?

For all of your positive aspirations to be the leader you want to become and your people deserve, you can fall into almost every trap imaginable.