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Leadership Guide For 2016: How Should Leaders Be Prepared

In this year of vast technological advancement, the key is for leaders to remember that human capital is as essential and indispensable as ever.

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Leaders of today's corporate world exist in a time that is popularly referred to as the age of disruption. 2016 is undoubtedly going to be a year where businesses will focus on taking their digital advancements to the next level. Today's leaders know that when it comes to business growth and innovation, technology is the future. However, while this "get ahead" approach is an accelerator to success, it is important that the human side of leadership not be lost in the pursuit of technology, analytics and metrics.

Additionally, the fact is that several countries across the globe are being hit by a recession and the forecast for emerging markets is not looking strong. Leaders may have to face a certain degree of unwelcome volatility at the workplace. While India could buck this trend, it has to be equipped for the possibility of being impacted by the world economy. As leaders prepare robust plans for the new financial year, they should to be prepared for the potential downside as well.

In the end, it is not just the business plan, but also the drive and enthusiasm of the people to achieve these plans and tackle unforeseen obstacles that is of equal, if not of more importance. The key focus for leaders across sectors needs to be their people.

According to the Dale Carnegie India Employee Engagement Survey, we identified three key drivers of employee engagement. They are: Relationship with Immediate Supervisor, Belief in Senior Leadership and Pride in the Organization. This gives us an interesting insight into the magnitude of influence a leader has on the morale and engagement levels of his/her employees.

Here's what leaders can do to ensure the retention and engagement of their people in 2016:

1. Give honest, sincere appreciation: The leading challenge faced by recruiters today is the hiring and retention of quality talent. It is therefore crucial for leaders to nurture, develop and guide their existing employees in order to build a productive workforce. As a leader, you should mindfully praise your employees for their hard work, their commitment and their efforts towards excellence. Remind them that you truly appreciate what they are doing for you and for the company. When we acknowledge the value a person brings to our organization, we establish a positive tone for open communication. Praising and appreciating others' efforts increases their self-esteem and also engenders a feeling of gratitude within them. Noticing and giving recognition to others with every little improvement they make or milestone they achieve will create a positive atmosphere and lead to satisfied and motivated workforce.

2. Value your employees: 
Today's employees know how valuable their time and skills are but too often once we hire someone we forget to remind them how vital their contribution is to the company. According to the Dale Carnegie India Employee Engagement Report one of the emotional attributes of engagement is feeling valued. As a leader, it is crucial to remember to treat your employees as valuable people with skills rather than people with valuable skills.

3. Show genuine interest in others: This age old principle goes a long way when it comes to effective leadership. Every individual has unique goals and dreams. Give them support, be genuinely caring and create an environment of openness. According to the Dale Carnegie India Employee Engagement Report only 45 per cent Indian employees were satisfied with their immediate supervisor and 12 per cent of the respondents were actually very unhappy with this key relationship. While a majority of the respondents said that their immediate supervisor treats them with respect, they also felt that s/he is not interested in them or does not care about their personal life. We cannot effectively influence others if we do not work on building meaningful relationships with them.

4. Show them the 'why' behind the 'what': Leaders everywhere are masters of how to set goals and decide what needs to be done to achieve them. However, in order to truly engage and inspire your employees, you need to let them in on your vision. Create a culture of openness, innovation and creativity where you and your team collectively ideate and collaborate, together charting out a plan to accomplish that vision. This will create a sense of ownership, a feeling of involvement and a zeal to work together to achieve one common goal among your employees.

5. Make the other person happy about what they're doing: When it comes to delegating work, the best way to motivate someone to execute your idea effectively is to present it in such a way that he or she feels happy about taking up the task. Often, tasks are delegated with an attitude of presumption, making the employee feel taken for granted. Leaders need to inspire and excite their people to boost employee morale and performance.

In this year of vast technological advancement, the key is for leaders to remember that human capital is as essential and indispensable as ever. Leaders need to think forward and work on creating a strong, sturdy workforce which is ready to embrace change and take on any challenge that confronts it. Those leaders who are able to connect with their employees at a human level are the ones who will have made the greatest triumph.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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leadership world economy what to expect in 2016

Pallavi Jha

The author is MD & Chairperson of Dale Carnegie of India.

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