1 posts categorized "July 2014"

July 23, 2014

The Changing Face Of Leadership

CHANGING-FACES
What it takes to succeed as a leader has been redefined by changes in the workforce and mega trends. Gen Y is more motivated by identity, mastery and purpose than they are by money, power and stability.  Tech-Globalism accelerates the rate of change, be it in consumer attitudes, retail habits and government regulatory actions.  As the world gets faster and deeper, leaders will face unique challenges, requiring a retooling of the traditional hierarchical models of yesteryear.   

Leadership development needs to change, adjusting to these trends.  According to a paper published by the Center for Creative Leadership, the required skills for leaders have changed – requiring more adaptive thinking abilities.  They summed up the challenge, “There is a transition occurring from the old paradigm in which leadership resided in a person or a role, to a new one in which leadership is a collective process that is spread throughout networks of people.”

Here are five areas of leadership development for the future: 

1. Influence – Leaders must move their charges to action by aligning them with the company’s values.  Influence is the key to building strong culture, which is quickly becoming as important as strategy to global organizations.  Command and control are outdated tools in this regard, and instead new skills must be attained such as empathy, story telling and system wide mentorship.  To be competitive, power and innovation must be dispersed throughout the organization.  Leaders today must ask the right questions, encourage the right people and move the conversation forward.  Resource – Influence: The Essence of Leadership  

2. Finesse – Napoleon Bonaparte often said that the leader’s role is to “define reality, then give hope.”  His point was that there is a precarious balance that must be struck between the challenges of the day, and the promise of tomorrow.  This requires a sense of emotional talent or finesse.  Leaders need to feed their mind the right stuff, so they can respond to adversity with innovative thinking.  They need to possess clear communications channels with managers, to understand assets that can quickly be brought to bear when adversity strikes.  When they implement them, they need to balance the emotional and financial impacts it will have on the enterprise.   Resource: Fall of the Alpha Leaders by Dana Ardi

3. Agility – Business cycles has compressed from decades into years. Technology driven industry changes require legacy companies to radically shift their strategies, adopt emerging technologies and kill off out-of-date models.  Consumers are empowered with information now, changing how they buy and influence others.  Not only does the leader need to be agile, she must effectively hire for it and make it the linchpin of employee development practices.   Sticking with your guns is a recipe for defeat.  Resource: Learning Agility by the Creative Center of Leadership 

4. Creativity – In an IBM study 1500 CEOs named the most important skill of the future leader as creativity.  It is one’s ability to produce original work that is appropriate to the situation.  Today’s leader must expand her level of curiosity to uncover patterns of behavior that reveal new routes to value or innovations.  She must develop a tolerance for ambiguity – the hallmark of the creative thinker.  Moreover, she must manage a culture that encourages innovation, along with candor.  She must neutralize the naysayers.  Resource: Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmul 

5. Higher Purpose – Nothing motivates tomorrow’s talent more than a sense of purpose and the belief that one’s work makes a difference to the world.  While a company needs to make a profit to keep the doors open, it’s not going to motivate the entire company to take chances, finish tasks in the face of adversity and serve as brand ambassadors on social media and in the real world.  Leaders must constantly look for a higher purpose that the business serves, and empower their entire company to participate to that end.  Resource – Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates People by Dan Pink

(From my upcoming keynote address at the Womens Foodservice Forum New Orleans.)