Being the smartest person in the room was a success for many leaders just a few years ago. Achieving a senior job title, a certain salary and career level was a great goal to accomplish.

And suddenly leadership has changed significantly and not all companies and leaders have already realized it. Simon Sinek, bestselling author, even says: “We are facing a leadership crisis.”

Leadership has become a people business. It is all about a human-centric approach. It is about empowering and motivating people, being a role-model and demonstrating the right mindset. Overachieving KPIs is now a side-product of great leadership. A whole new leadership approach is required and companies need to support their leaders to get there.

Many leaders are challenged from all sides: Ambitious employees that want to develop and fulfill their purpose, markets that are instable and unpredictable, continuous change within organizations, and management boards that still focus on KPIs.

When I look into organizations, bad leadership is more and more a big issue. Often companies are not realizing that they need to support their leaders in a very different way than five years ago. So outdated leadership styles and obsolete leadership development programs are still in place and the gap is getting bigger and bigger. Some companies can’t even differentiate between good and bad leaders, because they have no infrastructure to evaluate this information.

What are the topics leaders need to focus on? What topics could be included in leadership coachings? Here are five ways to be a great leader:

1. Your vision

Leaders who lack a vision cannot inspire their teams. Nowadays no team is inspired just by reaching KPIs. People want to have an impact. They want to contribute to culture, be part of something bigger. Help your leaders to develop their very unique vision. What is their intrinsic motivation? What impact do they want to make in the world?

2. Care about people

If you are only interested in money, career and status, don’t be a leader.

Every employee deserves a great leader. A leader who truly cares and show interests in people increases their performance and quality of life tremendously.

3. Take care of your life

Leaders who are constantly busy, stressed and think this is a status symbol are on the wrong track. They will burn out, physically and mentally. It is often not about too much work, it is a matter what you prioritize in your life. Today’s role-models spend time with their family and friends, they take time to refuel their batteries. They know leadership is a marathon and they know how to pace themselves. They take breaks. Reading no emails during vacation is possible, because they have built a great team to cover. Letting go of power is a great relief and helps to calm down.

4. Being present

Leaders are often not present, as they believe it is all about multi-tasking. Checking their phones in important meetings, writing emails during phone calls, not listening. Stop doing multi-tasking. Listen to your counterpart and make sure your mind is not wandering. People often think the next moment is more important than the now. That’s an illusion. Being present is a skill you can train. It will increase the quality of conservations big times and will reduce stress on both sides.

5. Be comfortable with not knowing

Leaders often invest a lot of time in planning. Budget planning, sales forecasts, headcount planning, strategy planning. What would happen if you stop planning? Organizations still have many planning processes in place that don’t fit anymore to the unpredictable world. They are a waste of time as most of the time the plan doesn’t work.

Life is not about plans anymore. It is about accepting and dealing with whatever shows up. This requires an abundant mindset, which focuses on trust, chances and solutions instead of obstacles. Leaders have to learn to be comfortable with not knowing.

Make sure you help your leaders to focus on these topics. Leadership coachings are a great way to support leaders individually. Re-design your leadership development program and make it fit for the future. Great leadership is one of the most important factors for future growth.

What leadership issue would you like to solve? Tell me more.

Yours, Heidi Hofer.


About Heidi Hofer

Heidi Hofer is a consultant for leadership teams who want to make their organization fit for the future. She supports, provides orientation, and develops strategies for a working environment characterized by human-centric leadership, individual development, and meaningful structures. This working environment then serves as the basis for healthy growth, full potential development, and sustainable success. She has profound industry expertise in the areas of tech, e-commerce, and digital.