We often say that being a leader is the most important job you can have. This isn’t just to flatter you. You are asked to give much of yourself and to the people around you. In return, you are rewarded with unlimited potential, influence and the ability to create positive change in organizations and in people’s lives.
But the requirements of being a good leader are changing. What has worked for past leaders and what even has worked for today’s leaders, will soon be outdated – if it is not already. It will require something new.
So what will be asked of the next round of up and coming successful leaders? What changes will you need to make to stay in your position and to also move ahead?
The Future of Leadership Is Not The Past
Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with major brands, taking care of the heritage of great leaders. Among them was cultural icon Walt Disney. “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing,” Walt Disney would say in his memoirs. ”That it was all started by a mouse.”
Another leader of mine also started out with a big dream and a mouse. Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs truly influenced me and helped form my own journey as a leader. I have to admit that my time at Apple was unforgettable in many ways.
But today, our work is focused on trying to peek into the future of leadership. We meet all kinds of fantastic leaders with a variety of backgrounds and ideas. With as much respect and admiration I have for their accomplishments, I often find myself wondering if leaders like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney would have succeeded today as they did in their times. Of course, this is just an experiment of thought. But they would be entering a dynamically changing market with new technology and a different breed of people – and a whole set of new demands of what constitutes good leadership. What worked 70, 40 and even 10 years ago, is no assurance that it will work today.
A Paradigm Shift Is Coming – why is this important for the Future of Leadership?
We see a paradigm shift coming to the future of leadership. There are so many things changing that there is no doubt the corporate world will radically change in the future. While we cannot predict exactly what the future holds, we can focus on at least these three important parameters:
We know at least these two statements to be true: Change will never be this slow again. Change is here to stay. Our choices? Resist change or embrace change. Which one will help you succeed?
Today, knowledge is a commodity. If you have access to the Internet, all there is to know is only a few seconds away. The real power becomes how you use this knowledge. One way is to learn how to utilize the combined knowledge of your team. Did you know that a team of skilled people that functions well together are able to solve almost any challenge? Together, they will by far outperform a bunch of clever people who do not know how to collaborate. Know how to create and foster a collective genius with your team.
Most people want to do a good job. They want to contribute. They like the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves. Still, research from Gallup shows that only 13% are engaged at work. Why? Well, one way to reverse these numbers is by being clear on where you are going as a company. What is the purpose of what you are doing?. What is your contribution to society – beyond earning money?
Make sure that what you do are appealing to both the brain and heart of your employees.
The New Way of Working and the Future of Leadership
Future leaders need to create engagement. When only 13% on average say they are engaged at work – there is a HUGE potential for you to tap into. Make sure that you create a super-engaged team by knowing where you are heading. Create “A Living Strategy,” a plan of action that seeks “buy-in” from your team and draws them into your mission. The key to attracting engagement is involvement. People who are involved feel ownership and find purpose in what they are doing.
Shift of Perception
The new way of working includes a shift of perception. As leaders, we must stop thinking that “I must fix this.” Instead, start thinking: “We can fix this together.” We like to call this dynamic Involving Leadership or the “Human Side Of Strategy.” It is probably the most important thing you, as a future leader, can focus on.