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It’s not simple being a new leader. How do you, as a leader, respond to the changes in this world.

How do you deal creatively and effectively with new developments? Such as globalization, the network economy, the influence of social media and the internet, robotics, sustainability, new technology and other innovations, and with more demanding customers and employees?

How do you ensure that both your people and your organization are agile? In environments where interests and relationships are becoming increasingly complex, and challenges from the outside world ever greater and less predictable. The trick is to get everybody responding flexibly.

It requires a different kind of leadership. Read our 7 tips for 'new leaders' here:

1. Create an open culture

Create a culture where taking the initiative and the informal leadership of employees can flourish. So that the latter can respond more quickly to questions from and changes in the customer and the market. The best tactic is to create a 'safe' environment where people feel at ease to express themselves and listen to each other.

2. Give employees responsibility

Trust employees’ expertise and experience by giving them lots of personal responsibility. You only need to outline a clear framework within which people work, along with the general direction and the goals to be achieved. Generally, you should formulate inspiring challenges to get people motivated. Make sure that project groups, teams and departments are diverse, and encourage people to speak their minds. Don’t act as an almighty leader: instead, let others take the stage and delegate leadership according to the situation. People will start behaving with more passion and inspiration as a result.

3. Put 'Learning’ at the center of everything

Don’t blame people for mistakes, but focus on learning. This is the only way that innovative ideas can arise. Share the outcomes of unsuccessful experiments so that everyone can learn something from them. Admit your own mistakes and be open to feedback. 'New leaders' are prepared to look at themselves critically and be open to continuous improvement.

4. Cultivate your 'people side'

Be aware that the human side of leadership is important in the long term, so you need to effortlessly match 'hard skills' with 'soft skills'. Do you have an appealing personality, are you an excellent communicator, and can you connect and challenge people? New leaders are good listeners. They postpone their judgments until they have explored every perspective, and only then will they make a decision. Get the maximum out of differences, and be sensitive to what is really important. 'New leaders' are aware that a 'high-performance culture' is linked to authenticity. They know themselves, their behavior, their conscious and unconscious patterns, and their pitfalls.

5. Put values at the forefront

Inspire others and yourself by prioritizing values. If you can connect the reason for your existence with what the organization stands for. You will be intrinsically motivated, achieve more, and enjoy more job satisfaction. This is something customers can sense, and ‘values' are an important reason to do business with an organization. New leaders are alert to this aspect and brilliant at communicating it.

6. Focus on relationships 

Realize that an organization is a network of relationships. You need to know how group dynamics work, and how to handle positive and negative emotions. Be principled when dealing with political forces, and be aware of the ebb and flow of mutual influences. Make sure that relationships stay workable.

7. Dare to let go

Accept that you will never have total control over processes and people. The perfect company on auto-pilot is a pipedream, because things always happen which frustrate expectations or goals, and you have to take the helm and get things back on course. You are increasingly faced with contradictions and parallel thinking. Which makes it unclear what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. It requires constant adjustments and a flexible attitude. Always be prepared to take 'unusual steps' and to drop 'old ideas'. Don’t worry about letting things go: trust your intuition. And last but not least: show interest in the opinions and experiences of others and make this is permanent part of your own inner compass.

De Baak is dedicated to the human side of enterprise. Our aim is to enable leaders and entrepreneurs to make a positive, long-term impact on the lives of individuals, society, planet and profit.

We offer tailor-made training courses and an open program, Transparent International Leadership, for leaders in intercultural (international) organizations. Please contact us for more information: +31(0)343-556369 or advice@debaak.com.

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