The way I see it, there are 2 catalysts that have caused leadership to shift. Technology and Millennials have forced leadership styles to evolve. Technology has enabled new ways of working and Millennials bring never-before-seen expectations of work. With there powers combined…leaders have no choice but to evolve.
4 Unmistakable Trends In Leadership.
1) Create Context.
Strong leaders find common ground and connect on a personal level with those they lead. That takes context, knowing someone’s story, interests and passions. It’s said we do business with those we know, like and trust…it’s no different with those we choose to follow. It used to be the only way to build that same familiarity and trust was with a firm handshake, eye contact and a sharp appearance. Now trust can be built online. Many times, Google is the first handshake. In today’s hyper-transparent and digital world, context rules. Social media allows for amplified storytelling of one’s personal brand which is an incredible asset for today’s leaders. They can digitally share their knowledge to create credibility, share their story to create connection and share their passions to create common ground. Michael Brenner, Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP had this to say about online context: "I secretly judge people who have very few connections on social channels.” Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter because it’s the new reality. Next generation leaders will have to find and create context online to cultivate deeper connections offline.
2) Achieve Agility.
The emerging generations have a knack for adaptability because they are growing up in a turbulent and every changing high-tech culture. They expect and thrive in change. The #1 leadership skill of successful next generation leaders will be agility. Leaders who achieve agility in their thinking and skill development will thrive tomorrow. Millennials are interested in reverse mentoring, flatter organizations and flexible work schedules which all fly in the face of traditional work culture. It’ll take leadership agility to adapt to this new wave of work. Technology driven by Millennials will spur a shift to remote and project-based work, agile leaders will find new ways to lead across generations, time-zones and cyberspace to ensure they can move their organization forward.
3) Seize Simplicity.
Simplicity reigns in a noisy world. Less is truly more in our information overload and content saturated culture. However, creating simplicity is tough, much tougher than creating complexity. Simplicity takes intentionality, awareness and clear vision. Sounds like the perfect job for a next generation leader. Getting to simple can be excruciating complex but it’s necessary. Simplifying a complex process could mean upgrading technology or software thus raising the learning curve (enter Achieve Agility here). Simplifying could mean more time spent trimming a 300 word email to 2 sentences or a 3 minute video to 30 seconds. But the increased impressions and understanding brought on by the simplification will be worth it. Relentlessly simplify to amplify your results.
4) Leverage Legacy.
For the first time ever, the Internet has given us a lasting platform to leave a dent on this planet. The legacy of those before us was passed on by telling but in the future our legacy will be passed on by showing (digitally). Tweets, pins, posts, views, the value you added via LinkedIn and your Kickstarter campaign carry much more weight when your legacy is forever on the line…or should i say “online." What will be your lasting contribution to this world? Show us.
Question: What next generation leadership trends have you observed?