12 Hot Leadership Trends & Topics Everyone Should Explore

Who’s your favorite leadership guru? Do you have a successful mentor who provides you with business-centric words of wisdom? Are there Richard Branson, or Simon Sinek quotes you share on social media?

We all love motivational insights, especially when they feel like they relate to our current career trajectories. And anyone in a leadership position knows that some of the best advice is going to come from those who seem to have the foresight to anticipate the business climate of the future.

So, as you prepare to round the corner into 2023, here are some of those emerging trends, hot topics, and entrepreneurial insights you’ll enjoy exploring. You might find something inspirational to take with you into the new year for business, management, and as a dominant leader in your space.

1. The New FoW Is Happening Now

It’s called FoW, or the Future of Work. And today’s most successful leaders realize that the future is now, meaning action needs to be taken today to effectively grow and scale tomorrow. Business owners and entrepreneurs develop and re-imagine these roadmaps for their FoW strategies. A study just a few years ago suggested that back in 2018, 63% of companies surveyed already had an FoW in place. Considering all we’ve endured over the last two years, having a roadmap for your company’s future growth is downright imperative. Here’s what to consider when sitting down to carve out your official FoW path:

  • Models for identifying and embracing innovation
  • Models for identifying and embracing workforce development solutions
  • Models for identifying and embracing new definitions of “work” itself

The experts remind us that the “future” isn’t some mystical unicorn, either. Sure, there’s a lot we can’t predict. But leaders can be using the data, metrics, and trajectories of today to reshape a better path forward tomorrow. It’s the leader who can’t see beyond the moment who will be doomed to certain failure since only those who can adapt and anticipate change will thrive.

2. Compassionate and Empathetic Leadership

In recent years, individuals, families, workers, businesses, and leaders have all faced unprecedented challenges. And those tough times fostered an increasing need for compassion and empathy, especially in the workplace. Moving forward, with many of those challenges in the rearview mirror, business owners and managers are sticking with their methods of compassionate leadership.

It’s about being reflective, too, taking the time to think critically about the best way to be authoritative without over-demanding. And today’s most successful entrepreneurs see that those traditional forms of crack-the-whip management styles have never really been effective anyway. When you lead through a lens of compassion and reflection, you show your teams that you understand them, their needs, and their unique situations. It doesn’t mean that you have to allow employees to fall short of expectations. It does, however, inspire them to perform at their best, which is the ultimate goal as a leader.

Take the time to audit how you and your managers lead others. Practicing compassionate leadership means everyone should:

  • Be able to authentically interact and provide value
  • Be expert communicators through a lens of empathy and respect
  • Be willing to share vulnerabilities to demonstrate authenticity

3. Thriving Not Surviving

The most successful leaders have learned another valuable lesson in recent years about how to shepherd teams through tough storms. But leading with the mentality of survival isn’t the leadership style most are talking about today. Influential owners and managers are now embracing leadership that creates a thriving environment for everyone. Survival was the priority before, but inspiring employees to grow, learn, and improve is now the latest trend. And when your teams are thriving, you’ll build loyalty, brand confidence, and improved performance, no matter what line of business you’re leading. Take proactive steps to:

  • Develop more trusting relationships with employees and colleagues
  • Focus on the continuous creation of new opportunities for individuals to grow and learn
  • Understand the dynamics of the individual, and create environments that encourage each to thrive

4. Flattening the Org Chart

In some global leadership circles, there are growing talks of abandoning traditional vertical and horizontal organizational methods. Company leaders are exploring new ways to adopt more cooperative management models and structures. The idea is driven by employee engagement and company costs. Essentially, with a more flattened approach to organization, employees can take on more responsibilities and be paid accordingly. When staff members grow, companies can eliminate the structure of middle management. Additionally, companies have more freedom with flat org structures to create broader spaces for initiatives, opinions, and strategic partnerships. And it’s these environments that are more attractive to the younger workforces, making it easier for brands to continue hiring and onboarding for growth.

5. Hybrid and Remote Teams

Ok, so maybe the buzz about remote workers and hybrid work environments isn’t new. But it is still a relevant discussion as we head into 2023. Leaders understand that there are benefits to providing more flexibility for employees. And there is a renewed focus for companies to explore better ways to prioritize a healthy work-life balance for staff members to be their most productive. There will continue to be challenges in hybrid work models, including maintaining proper supervision and engagement. But most employers are exploring improvements to make these remote and hybrid solutions more permanent pillars of their company growth strategies.

6. Diversity and Inclusion

We should put this leadership topic in line with the previously mentioned topic of compassion and authentic authority leadership. While many of the world’s brands have pivoted to be more proactive about diversity and inclusion, it’s easy to see that these issues continue to be a concern in the workplace. But adopting an inauthentic approach to diversity and inclusion won’t be effective. Slapping a diversity clause with an asterisk at the end of every job description, for example, doesn’t make your company diverse or inclusive. Leaders truly embracing the value of the uniqueness of a workforce can recognize that assembling teams of various skill sets, experiences, and passions is what drives a company’s success. And taking an active and authentic approach to implementing a more diverse and inclusive set of processes and management will ensure your teams are always staffed with the most talented individuals.

7. Building Pools of Agile Talent

The lines between employees and contractors continue to blur. And in 2023, most leaders will embrace a more agile pool of talent. This involves blending teams of freelance workers and traditional employees. Breaking off work into segments categorized as short and long-term projects will allow leaders to tap into contractor professionals more frequently to achieve results and maintain growth. But if you don’t have a pool of qualified experts in various niches, you won’t be able to leverage this trend. Consider reworking your strategy to incorporate building more relationships with independent professionals who can help tackle projects when you need them to – we’ll go ahead and drop a plug here for the team of dynamic writers at Ghost Blog Writers as a great first place to start.

8. New and Varying Skill Sets

If your vision is to grow and scale your business, you’ll need to prepare to adopt a wider range of skillsets and expertise. Soft skills, for example, are becoming far more desirable than some traditional curricula. Managers are finding better productivity with teams who are competent in problem-solving and abstract thinking. The current hiring challenges aren’t expected to let up anytime soon, either, meaning leaders should prepare to be adaptive by reskilling and upskilling their existing staff. As you look forward to your 2023 plans and objectives, be deliberate about seeking new skills that will complement your goals. It’s the careful mix of expertise and unique skill sets among the ranks that will determine how well you’ll be able to execute those goals.

9. Tech-Forward Solutions to Everything

There are two ways to improve your bottom line. You can increase revenue or reduce expenses. And technology can help you do both. Another key leadership topic that continues to be top-of-mind is the growing necessity for leaders to constantly be seeking tech-forward solutions. You can use new tech to collect data, which is essential for providing growth and challenge insights. But technology exists and improves in other process arenas, improving workforce productivity and operations, too. It also inspires more innovative thinking among the ranks and positions your brand as a more attractive, forward-leaning employer when attracting top talent. Be looking for new ways to shift to software solutions, data literacy, and cost-saving tech products in 2023 so you can leverage these growth-centric benefits. Here are popular trending tech innovations worth exploring:

  • Robotics in Production
  • Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality
  • Innovative Field Devices for Service Roles
  • Collaborative Software for HR, Sales, and Marketing
  • Smart Devices
  • Cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Tokens
  • IoT Services and SaaS Solutions

10. Developing More Leaders

There used to be a trend among company leaders and influencers that felt like successful people at the top were an elite group. Only a select few could be in the leadership club, and those roles came with unique control of the company’s direction. But today, those with the highest authority are embracing a new trend of developing leadership in others. Leadership, which encompasses everything from insights and inspiration to operations and management, is likely the most important factor in your company’s success. Don’t assign all that pressure to yourself when you can instead, build a team of leaders and develop their methods in line with yours to positively impact every corner of your business. Consider coaching and facilitating others to develop leaders in these core areas:

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Sharing Responsibility and Delegating
  • Demonstrate Leadership and Encourage Leadership Among Others
  • Team Approach to Solutions and Project Management
  • Effective Leadership Communication

11. A Return to Brand Awareness

Branding has always been important. And it still is. But looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, leaders are recognizing that brand image, brand awareness, and brand messaging will only become more critical pillars of a company’s success. As businesses continue to evolve, looking to differentiate themselves from others in their space, it’s the brand that puts a feeling and emotion into that effort. The brand isn’t just for marketing, either. Brand image and messages impact a host of company segments, including:

Remember, your company can’t grow and scale unless your customers, partners, employees, and investors understand your mission and feel good about your chances of achieving your goals. It’s your brand that will inspire support from all those roles. Alternatively, without a well-defined brand that consistently impresses on all audiences, you won’t achieve sustainable growth.

12. Growing Need for Social Responsibility

As the workforce gets younger, the social-political climate remains ever-changing, and the “great resignation” impacts hiring efforts, companies are looking to sustainability and social responsibility to help. Employees are no longer interested in working for companies that aren’t transparent about their missions, visions, and social responsibility. Through community service efforts and value propositions, brands are widely embracing and promoting their responsibility efforts. In one VantageCircle study, consumers were 55% more likely to spend money on products or services from socially responsible companies. Another 78% said it was the corporate social responsibility that would be one of the determinants of whether or not to join an organization. So, look for ways to incorporate your company values into a movement of responsibility. But beware of “greenwashing” or generally putting lip service to how sustainable you are. Consumers are seeing through those who are inauthentic about efforts.

So, how are you preparing your business and teams for a successful 2023? Nothing in business remains stagnant, including leadership styles and methods. Consider some of these hot topic insights that industry experts say today’s leaders should add to their vocabulary. Explore small changes in your leadership first and build over time. You’ll soon find your business in a prime position to grow and scale. And you might even become one of those gurus that everyone looks to for insights.

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