There has been a major shift within the business landscape with the growing realization amongst CEO’s, organisational specialists and leadership experts that the accustomed routines and stages of organisational learning and leadership development are insufficient for the business environment we will encounter in the future. Despite certain bearings regarding leadership remaining the same, there are a variety of new rules and aspects that will need to be acquired to become a future fit leader in the years to come.
One of the biggest changes we are currently witnessing is in company longevity. Large companies are no longer staying in business for as many years as previously managed with many being bought, obtained or liquidated. According to statista, the average lifespan of a company on Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was just over 21 years, compared with 36 years in 1980.
The business methodology that had been adhered to before no longer works and therefore today’s business leaders will need to adapt in the way they think and act to become a fit leader of an organization. Let’s look at how business leaders can gain a better understanding on the changes that are occurring in the wider business environment and help prepare themselves for the future.
Mindset is a critical aspect of a business leader, as the mindset that a leader adopts usually directs thought process which in turn influences the decisions made. There are three key mindsets that future leaders will need to adopt if they want to prosper in the future.
Despite it going against the tradition definition of a leader, it is crucial that the business leaders of the future do not consistently think about themselves and their own gain; pursuing the requirements of employees and managing them in such a way that they thrive and produce their best work is the mark of the future leader. In this, even the act of getting to know some of the members of your team can help. Take as a recent example the departure of Credit Suisse chair António Horta-Osório, nominally over Covid breaches – but scuttlebutt has it that the Portuguese incomer simply didn’t fit in with the traditional Swiss ways of doing business.
The mindset of ‘getting to know you’ helps company harmony and performance. As a manager, you will be judged on how well your team is performing, therefore it is key that leaders show humility and try to get the most out of their employees to boost overall business.
Euqally important is the role of a leader as a world citizen. The global economy, digital interconnectivity and the rise of ‘working from home’ culture means that there is the potential for businesseses to obtain employees and customers from all across the world. As a result, having a more open and embracing mentality is important. Leaders will need to acknowledge, appreciate and embrace new cultures and become more socially diverse, by seeking diverse teams and recruiting imaginatively.
The ability to enhance talent from within the team is a powerful tool that will positively impact both employees and the business. The leader’s job is to create the right environment for personal and professional development. If the right environment is not created and people do not feel like they are on the right path to reach their potential, it increases the chances of members leaving the business. To avoid a situation like this, it is key to provide suitable opportunities for employees, and also install in them the feeling that the company is concerned about enhancing its employees’ careers.
In addition to personal mindset, there are a number of skills business leaders will need to obtain to thrive as a leader of a successful company.
With the ever-developing world of technology, from personal devices to artificial intelligence, having the ability and knowledge to exploit and employ these types of technologies can have a positive impact on business. Technology Intelligence (TI) is defined as the activity that enables companies to identify technological opportunities, and also threats that could affect the future growth and survival of a business. It aims to ‘capture and disseminate the technological information needed for strategic planning and decision making’ – meaning that decision-making is not limited to the higher management elements.
This skill has always been an essential aspect of good leadership, but has only been clearly defined since the 1960s, and popularized through the 1995 best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, written by science journalist Daniel Goleman. Goleman defined EI as “the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance” – more broadly, EI is defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence, it’s argued, have the ability to recognize their own emotions and those of others, and to use this emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, discerning between different feelings and labelling them appropriately, and adjusting emotions to adapt to different environments.
Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, having an emotional understanding has come into sharper focus; to become a fit leader in the future, emotional intelligence is an essential skill to adopt to improve outcomes for your employees and your business. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust. Therefore, to avoid adverse results, skilled communicators who can build connections within their team and combine their best aspects will have the ability to make smart business decisions and adapt to any important developments.
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