There’s no denying that globalisation is rapidly redefining today’s business environment. To meet the future, leadership is having to change – and change fast. Ultimately, it is those who can stay ahead of this stratospheric pace of change and take the lead in developing innovative strategies for the future who will likely be tomorrow’s winners.
Here, we look at the five ways it’s anticipated that leadership will transform in 2016.
- Horizontal Over Hierarchical
In today’s business environment there is no longer a place for archaic command-and-control models. Instead, successful organisations are those that are less hierarchical, more networked in their structure. In such companies, everyone who works there feels that they are part of something, and moreover, that it’s the next big thing. One of the most significant differences between vertical and horizontal leadership is reciprocity. To be a vertical leader, you don’t have to be a good follower. But to be a good horizontal leader, you must know how to be trusted – and how to trust. It is not enough to be trustworthy; you must also be a risk-taker, and know how to be vulnerable, two prerequisites of the ability to trust.
- Others Before Ego
While there will be always be a need for decisive leadership, particularly in times of crisis, collaboration and teamwork are becoming ever more important. Instead of knives-out competition, today’s companies thrive by building a successful community with shared values. Team members are empowered and encouraged to express themselves. The best teams are hired with collaboration in mind. The whole is thus more than the sum of its parts. In this environment, leaders don’t think of themselves as managers but as “team leaders”. By understanding the personal work preferences and motivations of his or her team members, the leader, as an individual, rather than because of a position, will earn real respect and trust.
- Agility Replaces Rigidity
The fate of future business rests, in part, on how well leaders can anticipate change. Agile leaders are creative thinkers with a deep sense of purpose. They show a propensity and ability to move into action and make decisions, and their implementation often results in greater learning. They also actively engage diverse stakeholders, influencing and studying them simultaneously. Agile leaders thrive on solving the difficult problems within the organisation, as they believe it mutually benefits themselves and the company. Indeed, it is those who have the foresight to spot change on the horizon, anticipate what comes next, and take the lead in developing future strategies to address evolving market demands who will make it to the winner’s podium.
- Confidence With Compassion
“Leadership” and “compassion” aren’t words we commonly link together. Most leaders are conditioned to put business before benevolence. The popular perception of a powerful leader is someone who is tough, strong, decisive, hard-nosed, ultra-rational and results-driven. The reality, however, is that powerful leaders, amongst their other traits, have the conviction, confidence and courage to cultivate connectivity and compassion. The leaders of the future are mindful, of self and others. They care about connecting with the people they lead as they see connectivity as the conduit for almost everything else they do – and compassion is the key to connectivity. Compassionate leaders inspire people with purpose, hope, optimism and energy because they resonate, empathise and connect.
- Values Instead Of Gains
With change creating anxiety and confusion, today’s leaders must bring a level of certainty about the path forward and foster a sense of purpose for their teams. Authenticity is therefore a vital leadership competency. Leaders need to create clarity – articulating a vision and painting a picture of the future. With so many changing variables, they must lead with confidence and have the courage to take a stand. To build trust and confidence with their teams, they need to be genuine in their communications. They must not be afraid to show their emotions, their vulnerability and to connect with their employees. This does not mean authentic leaders are “soft.” In fact communicating in a direct manner is critical to successful outcomes, but it’s done with empathy. In short, authentic leaders lead with their hearts, not just their heads.
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