In the current economic climate, resiliency is essential.
It is the only sustainable way to manage two realities at once: the harsh realities of the present and the optimism of the future.
The time for making predictions about 2023 has passed.
Now that we know what we’re looking at, it’s time to acknowledge the truth and use it to our advantage.
In 2023, paradox is the driving force.
For business leaders, the economy is still unstable, but not as much as in recent years. This is because there are forces at work that seem to go against each other.
For example, according to Deloitte, CEOs are optimistic about their own company’s long-term performance while being pessimistic about the global economy.
Similarly, businesses are resizing their workforces to be autonomous and lean while simultaneously seeking to innovate and accelerate.
To be a good leader, we need to get used to dealing with contradictory situations and facts, especially when it comes to managing talent.
Here are three significant paradoxes that will have an impact on our people and businesses this year.
1) The paradox of the labour market: Are there too many or not enough workers?
According to a Fortune/Deloitte poll, most CEOs (71%) expect talent shortages to continue generally, and nearly all (94%) expect to see talent shortages for certain roles.
Interestingly, a consequence of the labour paradox offers employees a silver lining:
Despite layoffs, today’s workers still have a lot of leverage, as evidenced by wage increases and the need for businesses to remain flexible about how people work.
A longer-term consequence of the tightening labour market will be a redistribution of jobs and skills across industries, migrating from tech companies into traditional industries like manufacturing, automotive, and government.
This movement will accelerate change and digitization in those industries.
The year of paradox continues here, as we grapple with a labour shortage and at the same time rush to build skills that will prepare people to perform well as work fundamentally changes for us all.
2) The flexible work paradox: Does flexible work promote productivity or hinder it?
The subject of flexible working and productivity is complex and contradictory.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. productivity is down 4.1%, which is the largest annual decline since 1948.
But while productivity is statistically down, people feel busier than ever.
The nuances surrounding this are highly paradoxical.
Many managers think that flexible, remote, and hybrid work doesn’t have enough structure and standards, which leads to lost work. Many workers, on the other hand, blame nonstop virtual meetings and other distractions.
According to the September Work Trend Index, Microsoft’s latest research on the ways we work, “There is a stark disconnect between the portion of leaders who say they have full confidence their team is productive (12%) and the portion of employees who report they are productive at work (87%).”
3) The manager paradox: Are we overstressing and undertraining our most precious engagement resource?
Managers are more important than ever.Recent data from UKG shows that a manager has a bigger effect on an employee’s health than their doctor or therapist, and managers are the main reason why people leave or stay in their jobs.
However, managers don’t have the ability to lead in changing work settings.
In fact, 62% of managers feel management is more challenging in a remote job.
Managers also require new abilities to provide psychological safety to permit self-expression at work, handle life-work balance, and cope with flexible workflows.
Yet just 1 in 3 HR leaders feel they are equipping managers with the essential abilities.
Obviously, managers are our first line of defence for sustaining an engaged and productive workforce—and they need our support.
To manage successfully in today’s turbulent climate, corporate executives must behave paradoxically, simultaneously playing defence and offence.Resilience is the distinct ability to manage through contradiction. It is a collection of abilities that allow us to both adapt to adversity and maximise our behaviour to achieve a good end.
Surprisingly, resilience is a collection of contradictory skill sets that enable us to self-manage and properly evaluate threats while also self-propel to maximise our chances of success in difficult circumstances.
The abilities of emotion regulation, impulse control, and self-confidence allow us to effectively protect and evaluate for dangers, while realistic optimism, empathy, creative problem-solving, and purpose help move us ahead to discover the upside in adversity and disruption.
The current goal is to transform a danger into a challenge, and resilient habits assist us in doing so.
Learning to view change as an opportunity rather than a danger enables individuals and organisations to leave their comfort zones with the confidence that they are prepared and have the tools to adapt.
Given the current economic climate, resiliency is vital.
That is the only viable way to manage two realities at once: the harsh reality of the now and the hope of the future.
People with a resilient attitude will seize the unavoidable chances that arise amid disruptions in order to imagine a good route forward and take action to realise this vision.