I attended a leader’s conference in Sydney last year where I had the pleasure of listening to a fantastic speaker – Matt Church, who spoke about thriving in the age of disruption.
My key takeaway from the keynote was that, what may work in business today, certainly will not be good enough for tomorrow. Old business models need to constantly evolve to keep up with disruption and change; and stagnant leadership styles just won’t cut it anymore.
Below are some of my ideas on what I believe will be the leadership styles of tomorrow.
Lead smarter people
Firstly, this new leadership style must be responsive to innovation and be accepting of the fact that many leaders will be directing others with more knowledge and creativity than themselves.
The hard part about leading smart people is that they don’t want to be led, and they want to be given the opportunity to try things until they are successful.
Have an innovation game plan
Great leaders will need to cultivate a clear vision to ensure innovation can happen and develop a game plan to provide a guiding path to fruition.
In reality, this means that leaders need to create an environment in which their people can thrive. We need to look beyond our own personal goals and create an environment where we can mentor these people to evolve.
Imagine that one person who creates something with one single idea could ultimately bankroll an entire company for the next decade.
Acknowledge everyone regardless of position
In this disruptive era, there is no hierarchy. Everyone believes there should be instant access to the chief executive officer (CEO) to express their views or thoughts, and that they are just as valuable to the company as the leader.
Any leader who doesn’t acknowledge input or brushes it off, will find themselves on the outs very quickly.
This new generation, full of wild and wonderful ideas, have an internal lie detector the likes of which we have never seen before.
Failure to acknowledge their ideas, or not give them the respect they deserve will soon see the leader as the most unpopular member of the team and ultimately, lead to a degrading team culture.
Leaders who don’t need recognition
You may have given a smart person their head start, but they won’t care or recognise you in any way.
This is an era wherein disruption occurs rapidly every day and, since staff believe they don’t need to be led, any new innovation was all their own doing regardless of how or who created the opportunities or provided direction.
Just remember there have been more patents filed in the last decade, than in the previous century – so why would they recognise your help?
This new way of thinking is now a part of everyday life. Be prepared for no recognition and learn to measure your success by the amount of innovation that occurs within your company each year.
As a leader of the future, your position is to create opportunities for others to foster innovation by realising and developing the talent you have within your own organisation.
Furthermore, are you part of the pack creating disruption by staying curious and taking risks?
What are you doing to make others more perceptible to innovation?
- Creating an environment where innovation happens?
- Allowing others to have ownership of their learning?
- Increasing exposure to differing types of information (abstractions and links)?
- Generating an unrestricted environment in which continual learning can be achieved?
Questions you need to ask yourself:
- What activities do you need to undertake to fill those gaps?
- Do you have access to the right knowledge and skills?
- Do you need the support of a mentor to take you on this journey in the next stage of your career?