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Sat, 01 Oct 2022 22:06:01 -0500
2022-02-03 Print

Diversity, Pandemics, and Extreme Weather: The New Competencies for Leadership

To succeed in an age of extreme weather, pandemics, and workforce diversity, leaders need more complex skills than in the past.


A new inventory of core competencies has been released by 360-degree feedback provider Panoramic Feedback to help organizations update their expectations of executives and managers.

Here is a sample behavior description: “Effectively communicates organizational policy to staff who hold divergent views about issues such as health emergencies, government directives, vaccine mandates, or work ethic”.

The demands on leaders today have never been more intimidating. Chicken Little was absolutely correct; metaphorically at least, the sky has fallen. Recent events have rendered leadership skills that once seemed entirely satisfactory, totally inadequate.

As a result, organizations are facing a radical shift in the requirements for effective leadership. Not only are some traditional expectations seriously outdated, a few have actually proven dangerous – both to the organization and to those who work within it – by failing to address behaviors that contributed to the current crises.

Articulating new expectations is a key requirement for organizations that hope to deal effectively with three major challenges to the practice of leadership today.

Covid-19 has awakened us to a new level of threat that endangers every aspect of work, from the supply chain to the long-term health of employees. Whether leaders are managing staff who work from home, or supporting those afflicted by illness, fear, grief, or loss, the challenge is enormous.

In particular, supervisors who could once rely on traditional methods like “face time” to know how work was being accomplished are struggling to interpret the more subtle clues about remote workers.

And the risk is not simply the current pandemic, but others that are likely to follow, haunting us for ages to come.

In response, our people have been developing new behavior descriptions to help organizations address these issues. Here are examples:?

“Manages online meetings effectively, using appropriate technology, providing clear agendas, and ensuring the participation of all participants”

“Effectively communicates organizational policy to staff who hold divergent views about issues such as health emergencies, government directives, vaccine mandates, or work ethic”

Extreme weather events – heat, drought, fire, and flood in particular – have overwhelmed many regions, often forcing changes in the nature of the workplace itself. Managers have to be nimble in response.

Such events also raise the key issue, have leaders positioned their organizations to contribute to climate damage or climate health?

A sample behavior description:

“Future-proofs the organization by focusing attention on carbon-neutrality and sustainability”

Leaders can no longer downplay the importance of diversity in their workforce and service areas: different cultures, ethnicities, skin colors, abilities and disabilities, gender, sexual orientation, gender-identification, and more.

For their organizations to remain relevant, they will need to adjust their assumptions about equity, about how best to support, manage, and promote their staff.

A sample behavior description:

“Intervenes firmly to stop disrespectful behaviors based on skin color, ethnicity, religion, residency status, gender issues, sexual orientation, rank, age, or ability”

Chicken Little was wrong
In this complex environment – radically changed, less stable, less predictable – leaders have to demonstrate greater flexibility and sensitivity on one hand, and on the other a more distinct, firm direction.

Even the most clear-headed executives and managers face situations today that challenge their expertise. Some have discovered they are out of their depth, urgently in need of greater support.

And that’s ultimately where Chicken Little was wrong. “Run for your life!” may be tempting, but it is no solution.

In response to these challenges, our firm, a 360-degree feedback provider, has released an inventory of behaviors for a new age, some of which appear above. They are designed to support leaders in two ways.

First, when organizations update their core competency requirements, these new behavior descriptions communicate the emerging expectations for executives and managers. They help set a new, more relevant, bar for excellence.

Secondly, when used in 360-degree feedback questionnaires, they assist leaders in identifying the skills essential for this era. Feedback from individuals who work with them enables executive and managers to understand how others perceive their abilities in these crucial areas, and recognize where changes are required.

Contact Info
Panoramic Feedback
Suite 833
6021 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M2M 3W2

Phone: 1 888 790 6793