What Does Leadership Look Like In 2022?


A new year indeed brings new opportunities and a chance to reset both minds and strategy. This refresh is long overdue after another challenging year that does not appear to be getting much easier to navigate. However, the festive break alone is not enough to counter the ongoing challenges leaders face in 2022 and beyond.

Leadership is meant to change over the years, contesting current trends, needs and the global social and cultural climate. Here are our 2022 predictions as to what leadership will look like.

Creating a culture of inclusion

Organisations will be working to ensure current and future leaders have the skills needed to create an inclusive environment. These skills include empathy, coaching for growth, resolving conflict fairly, and more.

2022 will show a continuation of leadership coaching and implementation of better inclusion practices. Both leaders and employees will be required to make inclusion for all individuals a priority to help create a safe and happy workspace.

Employee wellbeing will be kept front and centre

A manager’s role in promoting wellbeing will be critical long after the pandemic has passed. It’s no secret the employees work better and feel more comfortable doing so under management and leadership that genuinely cares about their physical and mental wellbeing. 

A Leader’s dedication to employee wellbeing has a significant impact on their teams. Organisations where managers demonstrate a concern for employee wellbeing will always be better prepared to prevent employee burnout and turnover.

Continuous coaching and development

Leadership mentoring discussion, three people sitting and one woman standing.

Organisations’ context for 2022 and beyond has shifted dramatically, necessitating a significant shift in the focus of leadership coaching and development. The focus of organisations has shifted from maintaining momentum and managing change to thriving in turbulence and developing agility to deal with disruption. 

This environment necessitates a new type of leader as well as a new leadership development strategy. We need and deserve leaders who can remain optimistic in times of hardships and still deliver innovative organisation strategies, allowing their organisations to flourish and succeed now more than ever.

Developing leaders’ virtual capabilities to build talent

Some leaders have recently noted on having the least confidence in their abilities to find and nurture talent and lead virtually across a broad range of leadership qualities. It’s clear, though, that this is the future of organisations, and therefore there’s a clear need for leaders and managers to become more confident and have the tools and capabilities to be prepared. 

Leader’s will continue to cultivate and mould skills to manage better and lead hybrid, flexible working options for themselves and their employees.

Engagement with the next generation of leaders

Organisations have a pool of young leaders that are eager to learn and improve. They must create a welcoming work environment that encourages talent from all generations to flourish and excel. 

New and developing leaders seek more mentoring and feedback. Leaders at all levels desire input, but the next generation of leaders expect their managers to provide them with even more leadership coaching and feedback.

Furthermore, next-generation executives are more diverse than any prior generation we’ve seen rise to the top of the leadership ladder. Next-generation leaders are also more critical of their organisations’ bias and fairness policies. As opposed to 67% of present leaders, just 56% of next-gen leaders indicated their current leaders challenge themselves and others to detect and eradicate prejudices. 

They expect their organisations to improve their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. And it shows in how they assess whether a leader is effective or whether an organisation is an excellent place to work.

A focus on flexibility and opportunity for growth

Laptop on desk with split screen for virtual meeting with four employees

Leaders will strive to develop and encourage flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid and totally remote employment. As they prepare to step into leadership, one of the biggest differentiators for the next generation of leaders is whether their organisations are doing well with flexible work practices. 

Aspiring leaders should be given developmental assignments to assist them in building their skills outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. On the job, you can also give them “stretch” assignments. This will provide your high potential with a taste of what it’s like to be a leader.

As we advance, the focus should be on training, selecting, and promoting people into leadership roles who want to lead and are actively strengthening their resilience to lead effectively. Effective leadership will be the differentiator of organisations worldwide in 2022 and beyond. Your leadership development initiatives must focus on the internal traits of the leader if you want your organisation to stand out from the competition and achieve long-term success.

Leadership in 2022

Are you looking to boost your leadership skills in 2022? Pathways have a terrific range of programs, from leadership coaching to project management courses. A new year does provide new chances and the opportunity to reset both thoughts and strategies. Trust in Pathways Australia for all things leadership. We’re here to help you succeed.