6 Bold Predictions for Leaders to Know in 2022

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Making predictions is tricky. The business environment is changing at a pace we have never seen, which makes getting predictions correct nearly impossible.  

For the last seven years, I have written a column dedicated to making predictions for leaders in the workplace in the coming year. It’s finally 2022, which means a new round of leadership predictions. Last year’s list aged reasonably well so before we get into the latest predictions, let’s take a quick look at how we did:

The Coaching Rage Infiltrates Managers (Correct)

Thanks to HR Executives looking for new ways to develop leaders remotely, combined with technology and funding in the space, professional coaching has never been more accessible. If that wasn’t enough, more managers took proactive steps to act and behave like coaches to their people. For example, we had a record number of signups for the Coaching for Excellence workshop, and thousands downloaded the 8 Coaching Questions Toolkit

Character Counts Again (Incorrect)

Unfortunately, this didn’t indeed come to fruition. The character of leaders didn’t end up mattering as much as their competence, which is sad.  However, I am not giving up on character counting because ultimately, people want to work with and for leaders who do what is right, not what’s convenient or profitable. 

The Same Person at Work and Home (Partially Correct)

The mental health crisis is real, but it hasn’t truly hit us yet. As freeing and flexible as remote work has been on people, burnout and resignation are at an all-time high. There have been significant strides in people bringing their authentic selves to work, but it’s not commonplace just yet. 

Less Tolerance for Average (Partially Correct)

The great resignation has caused more organizational leaders to settle for average performance because of a lack of talent. While standards for performance were raised, the reality of a limited talent pool is real.  

In-Person Events at Back by Q3 and Q4 (Incorrect)

This prediction looked the most solid of all of them until Omicron showed up and in-person events were canceled, and a return to the office was delayed again. There are certainly signs of people moving forward with in-person events regardless of the Covid situation, but it’s not close to back to normal levels pre-pandemic. 

6 Predictions That Will Shape Leaders in 2022

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1. Leaders Give People a Reason to Stay Beyond Money

The great resignation is absolute. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of American workers quitting their jobs hit record highs in November, with 4.5 million people leaving jobs. As the problem continues to grow, leaders have had to continue adapt and change. 

On a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, Davin Salvagno, Founder of Purpose Point and creator of The Purpose Summit, told me, “People have had 18 months of autonomy and flexibility, and in many cases, it’s worked. So when you have an environment like that, companies and leaders have to give people a reason to stay.”

The best companies and leaders give people a reason to stay beyond money.

While traditional thinking would be to offer more money, the best leaders look beyond money. They find new ways to invest in their people, provide learning opportunities, and celebrate their progress. 

2. Team Gatherings Spare No Expense.

Whenever the Covid-19 pandemic moves to an endemic status, companies that still have expensive real estate will reinstate a return to office policy. However, this will be welcomed for some employees, and others will struggle to embrace a daily return to the office.  

Regardless of which camp you are in, remote work in some capacity has cemented itself in the workplace. This means that executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year. They will leverage great meeting places, exotic destinations, experiential team-building activities, and nice dinners as vehicles to build solid relationships and strategize for success.  

Executive teams and leaders will spare no expense to bring their people together once or twice a year. 

3. Employee Raises Are Coming

Inflation and the cost of living continue to skyrocket. While automation is software is changing jobs, something has to give when it comes to people and their salaries. To adapt to this, organizations must empower leaders to provide raises to their people that better aligns with the value they deliver.

This will be exceedingly difficult when the demands from executive teams to double EBITA contributions continue to happen year in and year out. 

There will be a point where smaller privately held companies get a leg up on publicly traded companies in the war for talent because they can compensate their people better.  

4. Accountability Races to the Forefront

Since remote work has cemented itself in the future, output and production speak for themselves. It’s evident if team members are doing the job or not. Managers have noticed and are making candid accountability a priority in their leadership approach. 

I define Accountability in Building the Best as; the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner. It is the obligation of leaders to account for their actions and the actions of their people. 

Accountable leaders provide a path for personal improvement and team performance. 

Organizations will provide additional training for managers around how to have difficult conversations, and the best leaders will leverage accountability better in one-on-ones.  

5. Bad Leaders Won’t Be Tolerated.

Gartner recently predicted 30% of teams won’t have bosses by 2024. I don’t see it this way because leaderless teams don’t work. However, this is the year bad leaders aren’t tolerated.  

With increased engagement surveys, manager assessments (360°), and employee resignations, hiding lousy leadership is more challenging than ever. Managers will be held accountable for their voluntary turnover numbers, and if they don’t show progress, they will be replaced by someone that can. 

6. Multiple Income Streams Will Be Accepted

This one is the most controversial of all. With the rapid rise of NFT’s, Crypto, side hustles, and various ways to make money online, leaders will start to embrace the idea that their team members have multiple ways to generate compensation for themselves.  

I would go as far as to say that the companies that embrace this idea and encourage their people to have multiple ways to make money will retain their best talent.  

Closing

Whatever the future holds for leaders, it will require flexible thinking, rapid action, and elevating others. I hope you are in that headspace because the current leadership environment will pass you by if you aren’t.  

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

5 Leadership Predictions You Need to Know for 2021

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While Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the workplace in 2020, it fast-tracked changes that would have taken five years and crammed them into five months. Leaders were tested in ways they never imagined possible. They showed flexibility and adaptability to not only survive the brutal year. Now the calendar change has turned their attention to what’s ahead.

It’s finally 2021, which means a new round of leadership predictions. Last year’s predictions aged reasonably well, such as managers having to learn to lead remote teams. Others not so much, such as large organizations looking like universities (it’s getting closer, but not there yet.) This time around, I look at some current trends continuing because of Covid protocol and some contrarian perspectives to help you lead your best in 2021. 

1. The Coaching Rage Infiltrates Managers

The boom in professional coaching is real. Organizations and individual contributors sought professional coaches to help boost performance in 2020. Thanks to companies like BetterUp and Soar, the cost of professional coaching is no longer out of bounds for leaders below the C-Suite. This trend doesn’t slow down in 2021 thanks to technology, the gig economy, and HR Executives looking to develop leadership skills earlier in employees’ careers.

However, it doesn’t stop there. More managers will start acting and behaving like professional coaches to their team members. The signup rate from the first two Coaching for Excellence virtual workshops shows me managers are putting on their coaching hat much more often than they used to. 

Key Takeaway: Expect managers to look for professional coaching certifications and companies to offer internal coaching programs. 

2. Character Counts Again

You might think this is a result of the 2020 US Presidential elections, but you would be wrong. The character test in both political parties is at an all-time low. I defined character in Building the Best as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” The time is now for leaders to do what is right and measure themselves against right and wrong.   

Scott Olster highlighted Adam Grant in his Linkedin 2021 predictions, “As we strive to overcome a global pandemic and an economic recession, the character of leaders, will matter as much as their competence. In 2021, servant leadership will be a competitive advantage.”

While being a servant leader doesn’t guarantee results, it does guarantee an edge in recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent.   

This blend of high character and servant leadership will continue to be a competitive advantage in the marketplace. While being a servant leader doesn’t guarantee results, it does guarantee an edge in recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent.   

Key Takeaway: Low character leaders won’t last, and servant-minded professionals will get their opportunities to lead. 

3. The Same Person at Work and Home

It’s almost crazy to think we used to be one person at home and another person at work. Not only has this been going away, but it’s also finally getting fast-tracked. People want to talk about their hobbies, kids, families, and side projects. 

However, it doesn’t stop there. With the Pandemic having a severe impact on our mental and physical health, leaders will have no choice but to embrace the whole person at work.  

This means leaders must get to know their people personally to uncover irregularities in behavior. Expect companies to invest in gym memberships, in-house therapists, and embrace faith beliefs in the workplace. 

Key Takeaway: Empathy will win over judgment in 2021

4. Less Tolerance for Average

It might seem strange for me to follow up on the last prediction with this one. However, the reduction of the workforce and organizations trimming duplicate roles in the last year proves the future isn’t going to tolerate average. 

The only way for a team to thrive is to have each team member choose excellence.

The only way for a team to thrive moving forward will be to have a team full of people choosing to be excellent. Too many professionals are living out their careers by accident instead of excellence. Unfortunately for professionals making this kind of decision, the leaders and companies that desire excellence won’t tolerate them in their organization. 

Key Takeaway: Don’t go through your career by accident; choose excellence. 

5. In-Person Events are back by Q3 or Q4 and Bigger Than Ever. 

How good of an ending would this Pandemic have if we returned to a semblance of normal human interaction? One of the ways this will happen is by going to industry conferences and having an entire company in one room together to celebrate achievements.  

While anyone who says they can predict this Pandemic’s future would be lying, expect the hospitality industry and live events to come back raging when people feel safe again.  

By no means is our new virtual workforce going away. There is too much financial incentive for companies, and most employees love remote work flexibility. However, when companies and teams do get together, they will go all out.  

Key Takeaway: Patience is a virtue. We will be human again. 

Which predictions do you agree or disagree with? 

Coaching for Excellence Workshop: The development of your coaching skills and relying on a coaching framework will make a tremendous difference in helping you lead your best in 2021. Join John on January 20th for the next live Coaching for Excellence Workshop from 12-1 PM EST. Sign up today and get the 2021 Leadership Plan for free today!

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About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. He was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Management & Workplace. John is also the author of Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success. You can follow him on Instagram @johngeades.