2022 is one of the toughest years to lead an organization — with hybrid work, rising inflation, and lingering COVID disruptions making it harder to build a strong team culture.
“We need heroic leadership” to succeed, says BP Head of U.S. Comms JP Fielder. And it’s not just at the CEO level — it’s managers, directors, and every leader between who need to reset the way they lead.
A cheat sheet to get started from Fielder and ID.me CEO Blake Hall:
Restate your North Star. “Whether you're in consumer goods or helping cure cancer, stakeholders and staff need to understand what you're all trying to do,” Fielder says.
Revisit company values. “How can we define culture, not in terms of abstract values, like ‘excellence’ and ‘integrity’ — what Enron had on the wall — but by habits you would reward,” Hall says.
Evolve communication. Even hybrid teams are “social creatures,” Hall says. Build in ways to scratch that itch — Friday town halls, meetings, off-sites — and evolve them as you grow.
Prioritize empathy. “Employees want to know there's going to be efficiency, even in big companies,” Fielder says. Set up ways for staff to work from home without sacrificing what makes office life smooth.
Celebrate stars. The people who live your values and drive strategy deserve a spotlight. That’s what makes it all “come to life,” Hall says. Nurture excellence as a day-to-day practice.
Seek feedback often. Formal and frequent surveys can help catch issues and opportunities early. “When people are empowered to know they have a voice,” Hall says, they’re a lot more likely to stay.
The bottom line: Heroic leadership — at every level — is about helping staff see what their company stands for and the values they need to succeed. Every leader's top priority must be stronger communication.
Go deeper: From exec to hero — what it takes to be a leader in 2022
- Lyft, Edelman, Takeda, and 200+ other organizations use a tool called Axios HQ to sharpen their communications. See a free demo.