After the volatility of the pandemic, the world has now entered the “aftermath economy”. Leaders should use this period of relative economic stability to best prepare themselves for the next growth cycle. Those who focus on retention can ensure their talent won’t quit as soon the job market re-accelerates to the white-hot pace of the next few years. One of the most overlooked aspects in this regard comes down to the basics: infrastructure. Infrastructure encompasses anything from the factory floor to equipment to office space to remote setups. A physical working environment is fundamental to employee experience, regardless of where or how the work is being done. Whether a warehouse or construction company, distribution service, or accounting firm, strong infrastructure boosts output and eliminates the distraction of frustration.

The pandemic highlighted the universal need for–and all too frequent lack of–technology infrastructure. Many employers were not prepared when they were forced to suddenly pivot to remote work during the shutdowns due to antiquated processes. When Covid hit, organizations reported three-to-four years’ worth of digital transformation seemingly overnight–in fact, companies moved 40 times faster than they had believed would be possible prior to the onset of the pandemic. Now amid the growing popularity of hybrid work, leaders are tasked with ensuring their tools can frictionlessly flex between in-office and at-home environments. Technology has never before played a more critical role in a company’s ability to function efficiently. Across small and medium-scale industries (not to mention the large-scale ones) leaders have consistently reported technology as one of their two most significant investments.

When harnessed correctly, technology empowers organizations to increase productivity and improves the employee experience. Leaders, on the other hand, are people who know how to get the job done. If they don’t, they at least have the gift of delegating the task to the right person in the organization. The role of a leader keeps changing every day since businesses face unique challenges that require leaders to possess key qualities and adaptability. Effective leadership roles are essential for navigating these challenges while promoting the growth and development of both employees and organizations. Leaders must think strategically, adapt quickly, make decisive decisions, and prioritize a human-centric approach in their interactions with employees.

For the leader-tech combination to work, we need leaders to embrace technology, which can be a problem sometimes. If we look at it practically, generally top-level leaders are not young. The first thing to notice here is that their cognitive abilities may definitely have slowed down a bit, thus making it that much harder for them to grasp new technologies or concepts. Secondly, with age, people tend to lose flexibility in their opinions, rigidly fixating on a few. If a leader does that, he or she may be guilty of blocking the technology by themselves; their minds not ready to accept a new vision.

How can leaders adapt to new technology?

Stay informed. Leaders must actively stay informed about emerging technologies and disruptive innovations relevant to their industry. This involves continuous learning, attending conferences, reading industry publications, and engaging in professional networks to understand the latest trends and advancements.

Embrace a learning mindset. Building a learning mindset is necessary for leaders. Additionally, they need to foster and encourage their teams to embrace new technologies and innovations. The learning mindset embodies the well-being of curiosity within a leader. Curiosity keeps the leader mentally young and ready to engage with any new technology or idea that comes his/her way.

Foster a culture of agility. Adapting to new technology requires organisational agility. Leaders should encourage flexibility and responsiveness, allowing for quick experimentation, iteration, and adaptation. Employees should be allowed to make decisions on their own if they were to meet a customer’s expectations. It gives them a sense of ownership, and they will take more interest in getting things done.

Lead by example. Leaders should lead by example and actively embrace new technologies themselves. Demonstrating openness to change, embracing digital tools, and showcasing the benefits of adopting new innovations can inspire and motivate employees to follow suit. This is perhaps the best way as it inculcates the quality of ‘learning by doing’ within the corporate setup.

Anticipate and plan for disruption. By anticipating future trends and disruptions, leaders can develop contingency plans, invest in research and development, and explore new business models to stay ahead of the curve. This comes from experience, which can always be expected from a leader- making this a feasible demand.

Leaders are also correct in expecting help from senior management regarding appropriate training and communication before switching to a new technology. Subordinates (who might generally be younger) should also lend a helping hand, without assuming any air of superiority, so that the leader is more comfortable and can learn the tool quicker. After all, adapting is all about doing the task and gaining proficiency with repetition. A little help as a push to action goes a long way in transforming the workplace!