The Best of DTS Issue 13: 2020 Leadership Issue

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.

Edward Tuorinsky
Managing Principal

Leadership Trends for Changing Times

Paper Boats on CompasIf 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)

Leadership issues and how to be more adaptableThe 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self – Every Day By: Amy Jen Su Book description (via HBR): “By focusing in specific ways on five key leadership elements – Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace – you can increase your time, capacity, energy, and ultimately your impact, with less stress and more equanimity. Drawing on rich and instructive stories of clients, leaders, artists, and athletes, as well as on research by experts, the author brings together the best of both Western management thinking and Eastern philosophy to provide a holistic yet hands-on approach. ‘The Leader You Want to Be’ is your indispensable guide to tapping into and expanding your leadership capacity so that you can be your best, sustain yourself, and thrive as a leader.” Why you should read it in 2020: For those days when you feel overwhelmed at work – like there aren’t enough hours in the day, read this book and make the time you have more meaningful.
Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success By: John Eades Book description (via Amazon): “Beginning with the benefits of great leadership – and the drawbacks of bad leadership – Eades offers real-life examples of leaders who elevate others and how their practices have paid huge dividends. At its core is a carefully balanced blend of ‘love and discipline’ – a guiding principle that helps create high levels of performance by leaning on standards while at the same time caring about the long-term success and well-being of each team member.” Why you should read it in 2020: The best leaders are focused on helping others around them succeed. Identify your leadership style and learn how to use it to propel your team to greater results with more purpose and accountability.

About DTS

DTS consultants go far beyond just “getting the job done.” We continually find better, more efficient and more effective ways to satisfy the needs of our public- and private- sector clients. DTS provides full lifecycle Management and IT consulting services, and can support your organization by researching and answering specific questions, solving critical issues or helping you plan for the future. Among a crowded field of contractors, DTS stands out for the quality of our people, the power of our approach, and the impact of our results.

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