By: Allanah Paragas

2021 is a promising year for both organizations and professionals, with a global economic outlook is seen to expand by 4%, as mentioned by World Bank’s press release.

The Philippines also remains hopeful, with a predicted slow and steady economic growth of 5.9%, assuming that the government will allow more industries to resume operations. The Asian Development Bank is also positive that this will eventually generate a positive outlook in the labor market, as jobs will be revived from the re-opening of new industries. The IT-BPM industry remains to be optimistic with job opportunities this year, with a 23% increase in hiring demand, with NCR being a top jobseeker location, according to a Jobstreet Report.

As the economy recovers, the next normal requires transformational leaders who will drive the re-imagination of businesses and as well as their team dynamics post-COVID19. These leaders will help both the organization and the teams navigate in the continuous transformations deemed to occur.

In a Leadership Series forum organized by the I.T. & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) last January 25, 2021, IT-BPM veteran leaders were able to share their insights, best practices, and even their personal hacks that will help aspiring leaders grow and develop themselves to be the new leaders in this year of transition. Here are the key characteristics that portray the leaders of the next normal:

Leaders are forged in crisis

Being an industry leader for more than two decades, Marife Zamora, former Chairman of Convergys Philippines, strongly believes that “real leaders are forged in crisis.” Acknowledging people’s fears and encouraging resolutions are vital in retaining the best people in your teams especially during these changing times. According to Marife, as a leader, you should provide clear challenges and also give credible hope based on determination, strength, purpose, humanity, kindness, and resilience that will help you and your team face the challenges and threats.

Leaders are surrounded by great mentors

A leader by example, Karen Batungbacal, Advisor to the Board of Global In-House Center Council, shared one of her hacks that helped her attain success in her career and that is by connecting and nourishing good relationships with great mentors and colleagues. Whenever faced with adversity, Karen reaches out to them because having a “diversity of thoughts” will not only help you gain new ideas but the lessons you will gain from each other’s experiences will give you different perspectives in addressing challenges.

Leaders champion authenticity, compassion, and integrity

Bong Borja, President of Alorica – Asia Region, and Benedict Hernandez, Managing Director of Accenture, both agree on the importance of being an authentic leader with a heart and with integrity. Authentic leaders value the importance of having openness and transparency. Benedict takes advantage of new technologies for allowing them [organizational leaders] to have constant two-way communication with their teams and have better work dynamics.

Being able to walk the talk and at the same time have compassion for your people are both essential characteristics leaders must possess, according to Bong. “It’s not all about business outcomes or profits; it’s about our people, community, and the country,” Bong added.

While people can make or break a business, having the right leaders will help navigate teams and drive the business to success. Although the pandemic caused a global crisis, it also “provided opportunities for us, our organizations, and teams to understand our strengths and weaknesses, what engages and motivates people,” Marife emphasized. Equipped with the right mindset and the essential leadership characteristics, use your strengths and learn from experience as you continue to grow and become a leader in the next normal.

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