2021 is a watershed year for leaders because they’re about to ask their employees to undertake a third business model in less than 18 months, said storyteller, educator and author Jim “Pouli” Pouliopoulos.
“There was the way they worked before COVID, there was what they did during COVID, and now we’re saying, ‘Oh, by the way, we know it’s going to be a little different when we all come back to the office, so let’s re-create the workplace yet again,’” he said.
But Pouli (almost everyone, even his wife, calls him that), pictured right, argues that leaders can navigate the post-pandemic “normal” — whatever that means, he noted — by shifting their leadership focus to employee resilience, wellbeing and motivation, all of which have become paramount amid the pandemic.
Pouli is one of the featured speakers at Tuesday’s Future of Distribution Summit hosted by MDM (click here to sign up). His presentation, “Leadership Reboot: Redefining Productivity in the New Workplace,” will look at the new workplace environment that’s emerging post-pandemic.
“The pandemic is coming to a slow but steady close,” he said. “During it, a lot of people have come to realize how important their wellbeing and happiness are, but they’ve also come out of it more stressed than ever, perhaps because they’re working more hours and they’re working from home, which is great for a lot of people, but it means they’re juggling a lot more than they ever did.”
Leadership in a Time of Crisis
As employees continue to juggle more than they ever have before — working from home, endless Zoom calls, overseeing their kids’ virtual schooling — they might go in search of a new employer thinking that’s the solution they need in their lives. It’s usually not the answer.
“Too many people change jobs because they’re not happy with their situation, but I think they overemphasize the situation, and they go seeking another job,” he said. “But it’s the same job, different company, and they realize, ‘Oh my God, it’s not the situation, it’s me.’
“Everyone’s frazzled. And people are questioning what they do for a living. A lot of people are happy to have had a job so they could survive the pandemic, but some doubts are emerging as to whether or not they want to continue doing that work when we go back to whatever the new normal is.”
And that’s where leadership comes in, Pouli says. He will show company executives and sales managers what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to keeping employees happy.
“What I’m trying to try to convey to the audience is, you need to get ahead of this, you need to understand what drives inner happiness, wellbeing and resilience, and you need to focus on that so that your people realize they control their happiness,” Pouli says. “You can help them increase their happiness without the pool tables and the kegs. That’s not it. That’s very short term and it’s almost virtue signaling.”
Pouli promises a fun, eye-opening keynote with plenty of stories — perhaps he’ll regale the audience about his cool connection to boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler — and maybe a joke or two about his eyebrows. Mostly, though, he’s out to help leaders create better workplaces for their employees.
“Look at what makes your people happy and help them understand how they control their happiness,” he said. “There’s stuff they can do daily as a team or individuals that can lessen the stress that people feel at work. I’ve got some ideas, some simple steps that people can begin with just to get a handle on this before it becomes a problem in the new normal.”
Don’t miss Pouli and a host of other great speakers at Tuesday’s MDM Future of Distribution Summit. It’s not too late to register, so click here to sign up.