Leadership has been studied for more than a century now and the approach to the topic experimented many changes. Under this light we could think that leaders in next decades will need to be different from leaders today. That’s why today I talk about the future of leadership
We are immersed in a VUCA world where changes happen terribly fast; the pace at which change occurs give us little time to adapt. How we got things done yesterday is no longer working today.
Right alongside this crazy pace of change is the rise and growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology, also evolving at an incredible pace.
The combined effects of these two things are impacting leadership. On one hand, changes demand leaders to be flexible and always looking forward. On the other hand, technology is transforming how people work.
Jointly with all the excitement provoked by new opportunities (global market and expansion of business operations, for example), fear and uncertainty come together.
Many people might ask their selves: Will my company thrive in this context? Will technology and AI replace my job? Could I work under the new conditions?
It is not only that leaders need to be flexible and comfortable with changes. They must help their people to be ready for what is happening. Therefore, their focus in the coming years will no longer be mainly the business objectives but taking care of the people (more than ever).
Globalization is having a great impact on how people approach their work. What they expect from a company and how they will contribute. On the other side, it is changing also what a company needs, how and where talent is found.
This changes the hiring, talent and management landscape for good. Leaders now, and more often in the future, must build talented teams to compete in the global market in a constant hunt for skilled employees. At the same time, they need to lead global, multicultural, multiskilled, multinational, to be able to retain that talent.
In the employees’ side, people are more conscious of their talent and money is not the driver any more to work for a company (at least, for a long period of time). Talented people look to work for a company with a purpose fitting theirs and, see their work contributes significantly to that company’s purpose.
In other words, shaping the future towards a purpose, define the vision and give their people something to believe in become essential. This is not about just controlling next quarter results but contributing to the highest end.
With the purpose and this recent search for meaning, it comes the consciousness about the means. And this implies, for example, that more people than ever are in concern about how the company they work for get results.
How are we impacting climate change? Where do we produce our goods? What are the working conditions in other countries? – These are becoming frequent questions and will be more frequent in the future.
Transparency is becoming essential for leaders as do moral and ethics. Not only because of their employees’ demands but also because society ask for them. Leaders must cultivate openness and honesty. Otherwise, both employees and customers penalize them.
Future leaders should be humble and transparent, flexible and focused on people. They must lead multicultural while look forward to shaping the future and give meaning for both customers and employees.