Our Picture of 2022 for Leaders

By January 12, 2022Strategy
calendar of 2022

Unwrapping 2022: A monthly look ahead at what teams will need and how leaders can help

Saying “Happy New Year” feels strange right now since it’s not the end of the pandemic so many of us were hoping for.  There’s still so much uncertainty and hardship at work, school, and in our communities. So, how about: “It’s a new year!” Or maybe “Welcome to 2022!”. Whatever greeting feels right to you, we’ve been thinking a lot about how this year is shaping up to be at work, and what that means for the leaders we work with.

In the last two years, every workplace has changed and flexed by getting on board with snazzy new virtual tools and platforms. We’ve been doing our very best to adapt to the shifting dynamics and challenges around us. We’ve set “return to office” dates, reset them and reset them again. We’ve done our best to solve new puzzles around morale, staffing, and burnout. 

What’s in store for 2022? If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us that nothing is certain or predictable. Here we are again, asking, “Ok, what now?” And as workplace sense makers and pattern observers, here’s the picture we see for 2022 and what leaders can keep in mind: 

January + February = Endure 

The next six weeks are going to be hard. As Omicron surges in most parts of our country, hospitals are full, schools fluctuate between remote and in-person and people will be out sick or taking care of family members who are. This is the time to focus on taking care of the people we work with, checking in, staying flexible and compassionate, and as connected as possible. 

Get back to the basics like: 

  • Reminding people why their work matters
  • Remind people to take breaks, breathe fresh air, and check in on each other

The biggest goal is to endure. It’s not the time to start a lot of new initiatives, try to cheer people up or take burnout head-on. It is time to support people in the ways they need and keep ongoing. 

March + April = Take Stock and Integrate 

If what we’re reading is right, we may get a break from the pandemic as we move into March. If so, this is the time for leaders to create opportunities for people to come together in small groups/teams. This is a time to pause, acknowledge, feel and share the experience of living through 2+ years of a global pandemic. We have all suffered. There have been deep collective and individual losses, people have had to do and navigate things they never imagined. Many people have just put their heads down and tried to keep on moving through it. They haven’t stopped to take in what this has meant, what it feels like, how hard it’s been, or what we’ve survived. It’s hard for humans to move forward without making sense of where we’ve been.

You do not have to be a therapist. You only have to provide the opportunity to talk about a few questions:

  1. What has it been like for you, living and working through this pandemic? 
  2. What have been the hardest things? 
  3. Have there been gifts or silver linings for you? 
  4. What have you learned? What do you want to take with you from all this? 

We will be offering facilitated reflection conversations as we move into the spring. Please let us know if you’d like to talk about putting together conversations for your staff. 

May + June = Focus on the Basics of Well-being at Work & Good Communication 

Hopefully, people have a chance to process their experience and have a breather from the pandemic. Leaders will be helping people focus on what well-being at work means. This will set you up for the kind of culture work most organizations and teams need to do, especially in the face of exhaustion and burnout from the last few years.

Since each workplace is different, well-being will mean different things. It might mean flexible work hours, hybrid schedules, more time off, or facilities upgrades in offices focused on air quality and cleanliness. It may mean focusing a lot on communication, transparency, making work visible, or bringing more fun and play back to everyday work. The goal is to get a shared understanding of the basics of well-being for your teams. 

July – December = Build Hybrid Culture 

There are so many “ifs”, but if we are in a place where the pandemic starts burning out and shifting in the right direction, then the second half of this year will see leaders rolling up their sleeves to focus on building a stable, strategic, and sustainable hybrid culture. Most workplaces have been working on hybrid culture with a temporary timeframe and lingering questions about returning to the office. Often top leadership has been trying their best to decide how it should look and operate for now. 

Building a sustainable hybrid culture is a group project, where everyone needs to have a voice. The rules and “what works” are brand new. We know our teaching and coaching will be focused on experiments and agreements at work because every workplace and team will have to learn their way into their future, step by step. Growth mindsets will be required, as will creative thinking and a willingness to fail fast and pivot. 

2022 is not starting out how any of us hoped, and still, we are hopeful. No matter what twists and turns get dished out this year, it’s thoughtful, caring leaders that will see us through. Leaders who never stop learning and never give up on the vision for their corner of the world they know is possible. We’ll be right here with you, a team in your corner rolling up our sleeves with fresh ideas, strategies, and support to untangle the trickiest and craziest questions and challenges along the way. 

Interested in Further Discussing Your Plans for 2022?

We work with leaders in coaching sessions, small group coaching, leadership programs, and leadership team retreats. Our work is about sharing strategies, guidance, and tools to take on the challenges you’re navigating. Whether you’re leading an entire organization or a part of it, we’d love to speak to you more. Get in touch to talk about leadership coaching, leadership design work, or book a call to discuss further.

Jen Margolis

About Jen Margolis

My passion is helping people find and use their strengths to move toward their biggest vision. My career began as a community organizer with refugees and grew to designing and facilitating programs for international professionals including grassroots women leaders in Egypt. These experiences led me to management consulting focusing on strategic planning, leadership development, community and education based program development and executive coaching.