Sunday, 22 December 2013

What's the future of leadership?

Various publications have looked at the topic, including Hay Group's Leadership 2030 research, Building the new Leader.

The study takes into consideration six megatrends: globalisation 2.0, climate change, demographic change, individualisation and values pluralism, increasingly digital lifestyle and technology convergence. Because of these six megatrends Hay Group suggests the leaders of the future to develop  a host of new skills and competencies if they and their organisations are to succeed.

The transformation will start from abandoning much of the thinking and behaviours that leadership adopted in the past. Leaders “will have to manage through influence rather than authority.” They will be encouraged to adopt a 'post-heroic' style, which means to be highly collaborative.

Good implementation and execution will be no longer enough. The tasks are enormous; it will be beyond the power of any single individual to accomplish them, making “collaboration among a range of different people essential even at the stage of conceptualising challenges.” Inter-corporate knowledge exchange as well as cross-sector partnerships will become more common.

Social media will lead to a much greater convergence between private and working lives. Individuals will be 'always on' and more and more business will be conducted virtually. "Digital knowledge workers will work anywhere and forge large number of loose digital connections with both personal and business contacts." It will become important for leaders to allow employees the freedom and autonomy in accomplishing their tasks, enabling self-directed ways of working, and supporting individualised leadership. Developing good relationships beyond the direct work environment will also be key.

Digital communications will continue empowering everyone to create and share information – positive and negative – instantly with a global audience. Embracing this new type of information exchange, and “fostering high levels of openness, integrity and sincerity,” will become crucial. Leaders will learn to lead remotely, combining virtual and face-to-face contact for effective decision-making, fostering motivation and loyalty.

In this scenario, they will be open to – and advocates of – visionary ideas. Leaders will “encourage innovation and act as orchestrators of expertise from within and outside the organisation in order to harness the potential of converging technologies.” Supporting these new technologies - the acceptance of which will determine the success or failure of innovations and new products - will be critical.

The journey has just began. I look forward to exploring which role social media in the large enterprise will play in helping to build the leader of the future. If you have any thoughts to share on the topic, please feel free to comment. I would love to know your view.