By Anja van den Berg
In slower moving and less complex business environments the old hierarchical model that depended mostly on only a few people at the top for leadership simply doesn’t work anymore, says Brent Gleeson, a business specialist in organisational transformations.
“In today’s more volatile, uncertain and ambiguous business battlefield, decentralised controls and leadership through networks of people at all levels are imperative for success,” Gleeson clarifies.
Nikki Cockcroft, CEO of Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, agrees. “We will not be working the same way in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now.”
As the world of work is rapidly changing, organisations are also battling to find leaders who can comfortably navigate the volatile waters. “Recent research has proven that we’re experiencing a drastic leadership shortage on a global scale,” says Marcel Schwantes, a leadership coach and consultant. “Eight-five per cent of companies have reported an urgent need to develop employees with leadership potential.”
This is alarming because, as more Baby Boomers retire and Millennials move into management roles, today’s companies just aren’t prepared to meet the demands with leadership in their pipelines.
“Conversely, too many senior leaders and HR folks have been conditioned to think of leadership only in terms of power and control,” Schwantes explains. “However, in this relationship economy, people are banking on the emotional currency of trust, transparency and openness to leverage strong teamwork and business outcomes.”
In establishing criteria for identifying and developing potential leaders to groom them for high-level roles, it would benefit decision-makers to look for the following top qualities that lead to both great work relationships and equally great business results:
- Look for superb listening skills
Effective communication isn’t just about talking; future leaders and high-potentials need to have the uncanny ability of active listening. Active listening is being able to park thoughts and be 100 per cent present, free of distraction. The active listener will be intuitively tuned in to the other person’s story, asking questions, and searching conversations for depth, meaning and understanding with their needs in mind. Future leaders will respond and engage at a high level by listening so as to remove obstacles and help others succeed.
- Look for leaders who will develop others
Leaders of the future will show interest in coaching, mentoring, and bettering others. They will exhibit a growth mindset of developing talent in the organisation. These leaders take the time to provide excellent feedback to others, empowering others to achieve their goals, bringing out the best in people, and helping them develop.
Contrarians are entrepreneurial-minded people who push against the status quo by doing, thinking, and behaving in unconventional ways, at the speed of innovation.
Many executives today, unfortunately, do not have the resources needed to succeed in the changing world, Cockcroft says. Additionally, many jobs and industries are likely to be taken over by increasingly capable artificial intelligence (A.I).
“However,” Cockcroft adds, “there are two vital skills, creative and managerial, that will always be necessary for the running of any business. In essence, this translates to inspiration, mentorship, and a global political and economic view to gain the necessary perspective to move with the changing times.”
HR Future: https://hrfuture.net/articles/strategy/leadership/what-makes-a-leader-of-the-future
UNC Leadership Survey 2014: