As companies face crisis and change, especially over the last few years, leaders’ jobs get harder. Leaders must see ahead, make decisive calls, and lead with vision through enormous change. Even early managers are now stepping into more strategic roles. At the same time, leaders must keep their teams engaged and promote employees’ well-being. They are responsible for helping team members find purpose and meaning in their work even when they feel overwhelmed or disengaged. That’s where the key leadership trends of 2023 come into play.
Research shows a clear pattern across industries: what leaders are accountable for has changed. And what attracts people to leadership roles has shifted, too. Here are important leadership trends to expect in 2023 and the actions you can take to stay ahead of the curve.
Get Ahead of Burnout
Burnout is one of the biggest issues facing employees today, though most companies can’t gauge the impact. Burnout increased throughout the pandemic and reached its height in May 2020, but it’s still rising. According to our 2023 Global Leadership Forecast, leaders still face high rates of burnout, with nearly 10 percent more leaders saying they feel more burned out now compared to 2020. On top of their own exhaustion, leaders are also worried about team burnout.
Leaders report that burnout among employees is the challenge they feel least prepared to manage. Only 15 percent of leaders said they felt prepared to prevent employee burnout. This signals that they need help.
How Organizations Can Anticipate and Prevent Burnout
How well a company manages burnout is directly influenced by its leaders. Frontline leaders must know how to demonstrate empathy, provide coaching, and support their teams. Here’s how you can help leaders prepare:
- Develop and reinforce empathy skills. One way to combat burnout is to keep honest lines of communication open between leaders and employees. Most people are reluctant to talk about their feelings of burnout for fear of jeopardizing their position, so it’s important to stop this early.
Empathy is important for preventing employee burnout because it opens two-way communication and establishes mutual respect and trust between leaders and their teams. An empathetic leader can respond thoughtfully to facts and feelings or defuse negative emotions while acknowledging positive ones.
Empathy ranks as a top leadership skill among companies best prepared to mitigate employee burnout. When leaders connect with their teams on a human level, they are more likely to identify burnout and other risks to well-being. That’s why it’s crucial to offer empathy skills building as part of your leadership development training.
Help leaders manage their own well-being. Fortunately, burnout across an organization is a phenomenon that can be prevented or decreased if the right skills and strategies are set into motion. But while leaders fight burnout culture, they must acknowledge that they aren’t immune to the risk of burnout themselves.
As the level of change and crisis leaders face continues to evolve, leaders must focus on reducing workplace stress to help manage their own feelings of burnout. HR should play a significant role in supporting the well-being of leaders by taking steps to ensure a safe and supportive work atmosphere. For instance, HR can facilitate and promote programs that raise mental health awareness or create a robust employee assistance program.
Learn more global leadership trends for 2023 and tips for how you can act on them in DDI’s blog.