Author: Tatiana Porto
(8 minutes of reading time) Relationship with people is enriching, as it allows us to learn through the exchange of experiences, but also quite challenging, considering that each person is an unique universe, with its own values, expectations, scars, and successes. In the corporate world the context is not much different. Leading people is a rewarding task because, as leaders, we can impact people's lives, whether through career conversations, constant and genuine feedback, or mentoring. In September 2021, I received the following message on WhatsApp from a professional I worked with between 2013 and 2015: “I would like to share a very important achievement of my life, and you are a big part of it. I was promoted... Today I have a beautiful team that I coordinate, and I use many lessons I learned from you... You transformed my life when you said yes”. For me, there is no greater recognition a leader can receive than spontaneous testimonials like this one! However, managing people is not an easy task, and it can be said that the pandemic has brought additional challenges to those who choose to exercise leadership. According to the Vigitel 2021 Survey, one of the largest health surveys in Brazil, 11.3% of Brazilians reported having received a medical diagnosis of depression, with a much higher frequency in women than in men (14.7% vs. 7.3%). The depression diagnosis rates presented by the National Health Survey (PNS) carried out by the IBGE in 2019 and 2013 are 10.2% and 7.6%, respectively. In addition, the pandemic caused an increase in professional burnout, a syndrome also known as Burnout Syndrome. According to clinical psychologist and professor Marcelo Santos, the new reality made people work more, in addition to their hours, to handle their duties. Despite the gain in reduced travel time, the rest environment has become the daily workspace, causing some confusion. And what is the role of the leader in this context? In a recent study carried out by professionals from NTT DATA Brazil on Professionals of the Future, it was found that emotional sensitivity becomes a key factor in the sphere of interpersonal relationships. More and more professionals expect their leaders to be empathetic, being able to capture and assimilate the different feelings of those they lead and know how to deal with them. The leader must know each professional on the team individually, both from a professional and personal point of view. In daily interactions with people, it's not enough to just make a standard greeting like "good morning, how are you?". Leadership needs to interact with each member of their team in a personalized way, knowing their history, their main motivators, their current moment in life, their professional expectations, directing the conversation to what makes sense for that employee. Showing genuine concern for the emotional state of the team, applying active listening, and not just talking about work issues is an essential attitude for leaders today. Is this an easy task? Certainly not, and one of the great challenges for organizations will be to help leadership develop this empathy, as well as their emotional intelligence. Another aspect pointed out by the study is that there is an expectation that the leader reinforces and sets an example about the importance of learning, being flexible to listen to criticism, adapt and communicate. The obsolescence of technical knowledge, or the so-called “hard skill”, especially in technology, is increasingly accelerated, making constant learning – the famous Lifelong Learning – essential in the corporate world. Professionals who are not open to thinking differently, to seeing new perspectives, and to unlearning and relearning, are doomed to lose employability, and it is up to the leader not only to encourage continuous learning, but to exercise it daily. In addition, along this line, “power skills” become the big trend for 2022. Previously, the term used was soft skills, which are behavioral skills that cannot be validated via certification, and the name change is due to the inadequacy of the word “soft”, as it suggests that they are skills that are easy to achieve. Among the trends of power skills are communication, proactivity, and self-management and, without them, it is difficult for a professional to adapt to this new reality where constant learning is necessary. One more important point for leadership, with the proper support of organizations: encouraging the development of behavioral competencies and not just technical ones. In summary, the NTT DATA Brasil study on Professionals of the Future reveals that what is expected of the leader of the future is that he/she works together, generating more connection and inspiration, understanding the diversity of behaviors of his team to work on the human side of their collaborators. Inclusive leadership is also increasingly in evidence. According to Suelen Schneider, a specialist in leadership, strategies and operations, an inclusive leader can recognize the other as he/she is, without judgments, filters or prejudices. It seeks equity and not equality, converses with its team members honestly and respectfully, working together on initiatives that benefit everyone. More than leading, what is noticeable is the exercise of a great partnership. The traits of the inclusive leader are authenticity, curiosity, self-confidence, emotional resilience, and flexibility. It has clear and effective communication, integrates diverse perspectives, considering opposing points of view, navigates well in conflicting situations, optimizes the team's talent, supporting its growth, creates an adaptable mindset and approach and promotes transformations. And what is the best way for a leader to develop all these skills mentioned throughout this text? Reading books, training, mentoring and coaching processes are tools that greatly contribute to the development of attitudinal competences, but the great driver of power skills is self-knowledge. The more a manager manages to invest in his self-knowledge, the more effective the practice of leadership will be. Knowing how to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and biases, which reopens your scars and activates your most impulsive instincts, provides a strategic advantage to establish changes, new habits and perceive characteristics that are personal and those that should be attributed to others. It's like they say: The better you can be a leader of yourself, the more easily you will be able to lead others. Do you like our content? So, follow us on social media to stay on top of innovation and read our blog. References: Mercado de trabalho do futuro: quais as expectativas para os próximos anos? | NTT DATA Profissionais do Futuro | NTT DATA (insightsforthefuture.com)
Author: Tatiana Barrocal Porto is Head of People at NTT DATA Brazil. With 20+ years of experience in HR, she has worked in several roles within the area besides working in companies such as Cognizant and Accenture. Tatiana was chosen in 2022 as one of the 3 most important HR executives of the year in Brazil by IT Media in the Talent category – CMO & Sales Leader(LinkedIn)
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