Leadership Must Change as Employees Return to the Office

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After more than a year of working remotely, many employees are beginning to return to a shared workspace. While that will require some adjustments, most organizations – especially those that were digitally transformed during the lockdown – will be focused on getting employee skills up to speed.

While the right skill sets are obviously important, MIT senior lecturer and innovation and leadership coach Hal Gregersen says helping employees adapt to new identities as well as new tasks will go a long way toward smoothing the transition. He explains why in this recently published MIT Sloan Management Review article, How Organizational Change Disrupts Our Sense of Self,” co-authored with colleague Roger Lehman.

“The real challenge going on in the midst of a major transition — the one that managers are overlooking — is the role-change threat,” write the authors. “If employees have a compelling ‘why’ behind the transition they are dealing with, the transition will be shorter and shallower because it’s easier. And if it’s a long, difficult transition, purpose gives them the energy to keep going.”

Citing the innovative work of companies such as Adobe, Patagonia, Salesforce and Amazon, which have systems in place to see what’s coming around the corner, Gregersen shows companies how to use his discovery-driven process to see through uncertainty and spark the next step in exponential growth.

In his thought-provoking advisory meetings, keynotes and workshops based on his bestselling book “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” (2018), he teaches audiences how to transform themselves into innovative powerhouses by implementing a culture of inquiry within their own organizations.

Whitney Jennings: