Leadership tips for 2024

If you are contemplating your next career move during the Christmas and summer hiatus, Shannon Barlow offers 24 tips for career development and leadership growth in 2024.

1. Building trust: Prioritise building trust, particularly when managing remote workers. Trust is the bedrock of effective remote team management. Achieve this by consistently demonstrating your commitment to the team’s success, offering support, and maintaining transparent communication.

2. Adopt an outcome-centric management style: Instead of micromanaging remote teams, set clear goals and expectations, then empower your team to achieve them in ways that suit their individual work styles. This approach promotes flexibility while ensuring that outcomes are met.

3. Mitigate your own bias: Acknowledge your demographic biases and actively seek diverse perspectives within your team. Create an inclusive environment where individuals feel valued for their unique contributions, ensuring that decisions are made without undue bias based on factors like age, gender, race, or background.

4. Foster a culture of inclusive decision-making: When addressing complex challenges, involve a diverse group of team members to access a wider range of perspectives. By doing so, you not only mitigate the risk of biased decisions but also harness the collective intelligence of your team for holistic, well-informed solutions.

5. AI utilisation for efficiency and insights: Explore how AI and automation can enhance productivity and decision-making and understand its shortcomings. Embrace AI-powered communication tools like ChatGPT to improve information sharing and collaboration within your team. Encourage your team to leverage these technologies for efficient knowledge exchange and to enhance written communication. It’s important, however, not to overlook the importance of human touch in critical interpersonal interactions.

6. Champion eco-friendly practices: Implement eco-friendly initiatives within your team. These could range from reducing paper usage to promoting eco-conscious habits in the workplace. Two easy ones: switch from paper usage to digital documentation or establish a recycling program that also includes food waste.

The key roots of resignation in 2023 are lack of career opportunities (46%), low pay (35%), leadership (28%), and company culture (27%).

7. Know what matters to each of your team members: Be proactive in identifying their needs and work expectations, and check throughout the year if those have changed. People’s priorities may be affected by their personal lives, and what was a need yesterday might not be the first priority today. Ensure your door is always open for important conversations. Key roots of resignation in 2023 are lack of career opportunities (46%), low pay (35%), leadership (28%), and company culture (27%).

8. Ask ‘Are you ok’ on a daily basis: Don’t wait for a colleague to confide in you before asking them or someone you know or care about if they’re ok. Trust your gut instinct and act. You don’t need to be an expert to reach out, just a good friend and a great listener. Starting a conversation could help them to open up.

9. Ask yourself, “Are you OK”? Check in with yourself regularly, too: Be honest with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok from time to time but it’s not sustainable in the long-term. Does your workplace have a mental health programme or first-aider? There are lots of workplace programmes your company can join.

10. Adapting to the Great Resignation: Stay vigilant about the evolving job market. Australia is a talent-short market, and losing top talent often costs more than meeting their salary expectations and needs. Consider organising performance reviews more than once a year to identify any high achiever that wouldn’t be satisfied with their current salary package and responsibilities.

11. Do not cancel your one-to-ones: We all get busy, and cancelling one one-to-one might not seem a big deal, but one-to-ones are the only time when your employees can voice their struggles and concerns and open up about their current situation. Ask for feedback on your management style – if you dare!

12. Detect “Quiet Quitting” and be proactive in addressing workplace issues: Be attentive to signs of “Quiet Quitting” within your team, where employees disengage emotionally while still physically present. Regularly check in with team members, encourage open communication, and address underlying issues promptly to re-engage disheartened employees.

13. Proactively provide feedback: Actively encourage and act upon employee feedback. Constructive criticism and suggestions from your team can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement. Create a feedback-friendly environment where every team member’s input is valued and addressed.

14. Praise your team members, not just in their one-to-ones but in front of your team and the wider business: Recognise and appreciate the efforts of your team regularly. Small gestures of appreciation, such as personalised thank-you notes or public acknowledgments, go a long way in boosting morale and reinforcing a positive workplace culture.

In 2023, employees stated learning and development as the number one benefit, followed by flexible working.

15. Invest in skill development for competitiveness: Invest in ongoing training and skill development opportunities for your team. Equip them with the knowledge and skills to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving job market. Encourage continuous learning and provide access to relevant resources. In 2023, employees stated learning and development as the number one benefit, followed by flexible working.

16. Review your Employer Value Proposition: While your organisation might have been ahead of the curve last year, in the current market, things move quickly, and employers must remain competitive to attract talent in a labour market close to full employment. While a blanket approach might work for some benefits, consider tailoring them to individuals when needed.

17.Two in three workers would stay longer within your organisation if it was easier to change jobs internally: This increases to 80% for decision-makers. Promote your team members and help them thrive not only in their current role, but into the next one, whether it’s within your team or someone else’s in your company.

18. Jump out of your comfort zone: Write down three things that make you feel uncomfortable in your current role and plan how you’re going to tackle them head on. It doesn’t have to be huge; baby steps will lead to changing your mindset and achieving your goals.

Tackle the hardest task on your to-do list each morning, and the rest of the day will flow. Try it; you’ll be surprised by just how effective this is.

19. Get to know colleagues outside of your immediate team: Working from home has introduced natural boundaries to really connecting with your colleagues. With back to the office back on the agenda, now is a great time to bolster your work relationships. Plus, being genuinely interested in your colleagues not only helps ease the stress of the day, managing a team, it adds to job satisfaction, career growth and it makes you feel good.

20. Drop the perfectionism: Sometimes we may tend to strive for perfection yet, let’s face it, it can be exhausting and frankly impossible to keep up. Don’t mistake this for work ethic though, there is a big difference. Try to cut yourself some slack and get out of the perfection-zone in 2024. Choose your battles.

21. Make sure your team stick to their breaks: Research shows that micro-breaks are good for productivity, even though to start with it feels counterintuitive. With regular, small breaks, your team’s ability to concentrate is increased and stress is reduced, so make sure you lead by example and take the time to make that cup of tea or go for a walk around the block. Ask your team if they want a cuppa. Breaks should not be taken at your desk.

22. Start breakfast with a frog: The saying goes, “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day”. It’s simple: tackle the hardest task on your to-do list each morning, and the rest of the day will flow. Try it; you’ll be surprised by just how effective this is.

23. Start saying no: Protect your team’s wellbeing and identify when they don’t have capacity to do more. If the work is time-sensitive, look for ways to lighten the load. It’s great for team morale if everyone can lend a hand.

24. All meetings aren’t necessary: Stop booking and accepting back-to-back meetings, and allow at least 30 minutes in between meetings to reset and declutter your brain; this will help you recharge and reduce your anxiety to get the best out of each meeting you hold or take part in. Ensure you’re not the only one leaving with a full “To Do” list.

Shannon Barlow is the managing director of Frog Recruitment.

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