Leadership has become a series of balancing acts. In this new research, SHRM asked nearly 1,000 HR leaders to explore some of those key challenges.
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The Balancing Acts of Leadership
The challenges of leadership have grown exponentially since the start of the decade. For organizations, leadership has become an endless series of balancing acts—weighing decisions for which there are no obvious or right answers. SHRM surveyed a sample of 990 HR leaders to explore five balancing acts that organizations often face.
THE FIVE BALANCING ACTS
Spotlight on Empathy and Accountability
Where do organizations find themselves on this particular balancing act?Reeling from an unprecedented two years of difficulty, organizations have shifted their balance away from a heavier accountability focus and toward a greater or equal empathy focus since the COVID-19 pandemic
(6-percentage-point increase in being mostly empathetic, 19-percentage-point decrease in being mostly accountable, 12-percentage-point increase in being equally empathetic and accountable). However, as organizations are regaining their footing and moving forward, the vast majority of organizations seek to strike an equal balance between being accountable and empathetic
(84%). This has proved to be more difficult for HR leaders working in larger organizations
(72% say it’s difficult to strike this balance) compared to those working in medium
(62%) and small
Impact on the Organization
Organizations that are balanced between empathy and accountability are more likely to see a positive impact on their organizations
(49%) compared to organizations that are mostly empathetic
(37%) or mostly accountable (34%).
Spotlight on Listening and Being Directive
Where do organizations find themselves on this particular balancing act?Organizations are striking more of a balance between listening and being directive now as compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic (15-percentage-point increase in striking an equal balance between listening and being directive). The shift has resulted in fewer organizations focusing on directiveness now as compared to pre-pandemic
(14-percentage-point decrease in mostly being directive). However, there is still a discrepancy between where organizations currently stand within this balancing act and where they want to be, with
87% of HR leaders indicating that their organization wants to strike an equal balance between listening and being directive, but only
64% of HR leaders saying that their organization currently does so.
Impact on the Organization
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