In the previous article covering what the future of leadership looks like, we had a look at the mindsets future leaders need to adapt in order to lead in this dynamic digital age. In this article, I aim to highlight some trends in the future of leadership as well as some necessary skills that future leaders ought to learn.

  1. Purpose and meaning
    Companies in the past used to be able to easily attract top talent with the promise of a high salary. Today, that is no longer the case. Employees now want to work for an organization that offers purpose and meaning, and they’re even willing to take a pay cut to get it. Purpose is the reason for an organization’s existence and often includes things like investing in employees, making a difference in the world or driving innovation.
  2. People strategy
    Recent years have brought tremendous change to the overall talent landscape. This is only the beginning, as leadership is an ever-evolving concept. As older employees retire and younger generations enter the workforce, many companies find themselves on the constant hunt for skilled employees. At the same time, diversity and inclusion are becoming even more important. The new talent landscape is more than just changing demographics. It’s a new approach to attract and retain talent while also training and upskilling employees to be prepared for the future of work.
  3. Organizational Culture
    Leadership is a key component of any organization’s culture. Sometimes culture-related issues may make you demotivated. You might be in a company that doesn’t get along well as a team, has communication issues, gossip, or has undermining team members. Whatever it is, you are going to have to deal with it from the leadership’s perspective. These sorts of things will demotivate leaders because these culture issues might divert your people from work. This may dissolve team unity and would result in a dip in the organizational output.

    Changing cultural habits in an organization isn’t easy, but you set the tone, as the leadership. If you don’t want people to gossip, don’t gossip. If you want teams to work better together, you have to work well with teams to instill full motivation lest the organization falls flat. It happens to the best of us, but what you need to do is master all of the good stuff around you and get back on track.
  4. Morality, ethics, and transparency
    ‍Gone are the days of controlling leaders, who try to be the smartest person in the room. A recent push for morality, ethics and transparency has led to more authentic and humble leaders. Companies with ethical foundations perform better financially and have higher customer and employee satisfaction. These types of organizations are created by moral leaders. It is also important to recognize that leaders are being put under a microscope as people demand transparency.

Skills for future leaders

  1. The Futurist
    Futurists can’t predict the future, but they can look at various possibilities to prepare themselves and their organizations for what is coming down the pipeline. Futurists don’t just react to trends; they proactively shape the future and lead change. Futurists look through the ‘cone of possibilities’ to run through various scenarios to see potential outcomes. They keep an eye on trends, including looking towards the horizon for signs of things to come.
  2. The Empath
    Leaders of the future must develop emotional intelligence, including empathy and self-awareness. These softer skills were long looked down on for leaders, but they are crucial in strengthening relationships and leading effectively. Empathy is the ability to see things from someone else’s perspectives: for future leaders, this means considering issues from an employee’s or customer’s point of view.

    Future leaders must also be self-aware. They need to be mindful of their own emotions, motives and desires. The majority of people think they are self-aware, but research has found that very few people actually are. Self-awareness is both internal and external. You must be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, and you also need to be aware of how you are viewed by other people.
  3. The Translator
    The skill of the Translator is all about communication and building bridges between people. Communicating well in the future means being able to share a persuasive message clearly and concisely. One of the most important aspects of future communication will be using the right channel. Leaders must know how to cut through the noise to communicate in a way that gets people’s attention and moves them to action.

    The other side of the Translator is listening. Listening is more than just hearing; it means internalizing and really paying attention to what is being said. Future leaders need to listen deliberately and keep many ears to many different grounds in order to hear everything that is going on around them.
  4. The Coach
    Future leaders must be great coaches, which means knowing how to motivate, engage and inspire people, how to create other leaders, to work across generations and cultures, and how to put together effective teams. Creating future leaders is one of the main goals of a coach, and it comes from developing employees to be more successful than you. That mindset guides the actions you take and behaviors you exhibit. It motivates future leaders to create programs to mentor their employees, develop them personally and professionally, and set them up for future success.

    Future leaders will face the unique challenge of leading a multi-generational workforce, which means working across generations and cultures to understand and respect the unique needs of each group. To create effective teams, leaders must play to the strengths of each person and create an environment where teams can collaborate and succeed.
  5. The Technology Teenager
    Future leaders must be like teenagers. They don’t need to be expert coders or programmers, but they do need a strong understanding of technology and how to use it. Teens don’t typically read the instruction manual: they just dive in and try new technology. Future leaders should take the same approach, surrounding themselves with technology to find the best applications for their organizations. Future leaders need to understand the technology landscape. Keeping an eye on new developments and how they will impact your business creates a technology-driven, forward-thinking company.
As a leader or an aspiring leader, what new trends have you observed and what efforts are you putting in to enable you to thrive in the future? Engage with our consulting team here.

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