Right now, in the midst of life-altering change, leadership is vital to organizations and individuals. Exercising emotional intelligence and empathy are qualities needed in a good leader during these unprecedented times. To assist, we have gathered perspectives on the direction of leadership in today’s social, economic and technological climate.
We recognize that leaders come in many varieties. Demanding. Inspiring. Visionary. Hands off. Despite the differences, leaders help us work together, get through challenges, and bring out the best in our teams. But what style or skills are most effective for your organization? Is there a checklist of do’s and don’ts somewhere?
I’ve learned that what works with one team may fall short in another, and what was effective once may never work again. That’s why it’s important to inspire yourself with new leadership ideas and assess what’s working often. Every leader is a work in progress, and growth can come from a conversation, a new book, or years on the job. Our hope is that this quarter’s newsletter inspires you to be the leader your team needs.
Leadership Trends for Changing Times
If there is one idea that can summarize leadership in 2020, it’s a focus on personal qualities over resume credentials. In the foreseeable future, it doesn’t matter what your job title is or whom you worked for or even what you know. Companies are hiring leaders who are catalysts for progress.
What’s changing? Most notably, the definition of leadership. The new characterization captures bringing out the best in others, coaching individuals and motivating groups. Think of it as a modern blend of skills that meet the needs of Gen X, Generation Z, and the Millennials.
Other trends shaping the 2020 leadership role:
- Leaders need to be change managers to guide employees through uncertain times. Because you can be sure more change is coming.
- Leaders emphasize continuous professional development, encouraging their teams to be curious and eager to learn as a way to handle change. They also want employees to learn things they can immediately apply on the job.
- Good teams inspire great leaders, so hiring and team-building are action items for leaders.
- Human collaboration meets AI. With so much AI surrounding us, there’s an increased value on uniquely human traits, like critical thinking, planning, and emotional intelligence. These kinds of leaders guide people forward, no matter what technological advances arise.
Read the full story from The Uncommon League.
Leadership gets an A+ (for adaptability)
The tech innovation that has transformed business and government over the past two decades is incredible. Yet, experts caution there’s much, much more ahead. How can leaders stay on top? How can they help individuals and teams thrive in an environment of constant tech change?
The top tip for managing tech and any other kind of change is adaptability. That doesn’t merely mean being flexible. Instead, it’s an approach to mastering whatever new challenge is ahead. Three ways to become more adaptable include:
Becoming a life-long learner.
Set aside at least 15 minutes daily to learn something new about what’s changing in your industry.
Share what you know.
Our instinct is to hoard knowledge, but giving it away and teaching it to others helps strengthen your skills and deepen your knowledge.
Break out of the box of your current role.
Seek out opportunities to learn about cutting-edge technology in other industries. What comes around goes around and you may end up applying those ideas to your own workplace challenges.
Read the full story from Government Technology.
Leading in the ‘20s: Three things you must know
The ‘20s are a decade that promises big changes in how we work and where we work. Our view of things happening in some distant future time will be met by the reality that that time is here, this year or next. There are three trends every modern leader should prepare for now.
- Artificial intelligence is everywhere.
Chatbots help us book vacations. Smart apps reroute us around traffic jams. AI prompts us to compose an email reply. Leaders will need to upskill employees, adjust organizational structures, and implement AI in strategic ways. It cannot be ignored or put off any longer.
- The employee experience reigns supreme.
Since the next decade find us with talent shortages as we adjust to the tech revolution, leaders need to ensure their workers are happy, healthy, and fulfilled – and that their organizations are places where people want to be.
- Purpose is a way of business.
We’ve been talking about being purpose-driven for a while, but now we’re finally going to ‘walk-the-walk’ and actively embed it into foundational elements of the organization and decision making. This may mean new measures of success beyond financials.
As Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
Read the full story from Forbes.
Add these titles to your reading list: Leadership books to strengthen your skills in 2020
Dozens of books about leadership are slated for release this year. We’ve picked four to help you lead with emotional intelligence. All titles are available on Amazon.
Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth
By: Richard Boyatzis, Melvin L. Smith, and Ellen Van Oosten
Book description (via HBR): “The authors use rich and moving real-life stories, as well as decades of original research, to show how a distinctively positive mode of coaching – what they call ‘coaching with compassion’ – opens people up to thinking creatively and helps them to learn and grow in meaningful and sustainable ways. Filled with probing questions and exercises that encourage self-reflection, ‘Helping People Change’ will forever alter the way all of us think about and practice what we do when we try to help.”
Why you should read it in 2020: If you are working on your emotional intelligence, this book can help. You’ll learn how great coaches shift from trying to “fix” everyone’s problems to leading them to solutions with compassion and empathy.
See Sooner, Act Faster: How Vigilant Leaders Thrive in an Era of Digital Turbulence
By: George S. Day and Paul J. H. Schoemaker
Book description (via MIT): “When turbulence is the new normal, an organization’s survival depends on vigilant leadership that can anticipate threats, spot opportunities, and act quickly when the time is right. Day and Schoemaker describe how to allocate the scarce resource of attention, how to detect weak signals and separate them from background noise, and how to respond strategically before competitors do.”
Why you should read it in 2020: In an age when any company can be disrupted, vigilance is a coveted trait. The authors show, with great examples, how vigilant leaders not only act faster but also act wisely to achieve stronger market positions, growth, and organization longevity.
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