The Leadership of the Future

23.11.17

We live in challenging times. The world is in a constant state of flux and nothing is certain, except change. There are economic, technological, societal and environmental trends disrupting the very nature of the world of work, challenging leaders to move away from the old paradigms of growth, profit and patriarchy and to move toward a more progressive way of managing their organisations. Despite operating on uneven footing, the roles of business leaders haven’t fundamentally changed. They still need to drive innovation, inspire creativity and ensure the business is sustainable. Here are some of the topics leadership will need to become comfortable with, so they can navigate the future in a strategically sound way.

Preparing for a multigenerational workforce

Gen Y, Gen X, The Baby Boomers and The Traditionalists – the world is now comprised of a multigenerational workforce, requiring leaders to adapt their management styles or else fail to innovate. In order to leverage each generation’s talents and capabilities, today’s influencers and game changers will need to equip themselves to understand the unique perspectives, limitations, behaviours and motivations each generation brings, in order to be inclusive of all their needs. This will be pivotal to gain a competitive advantage and unlock the potential in every individual.  

Building a diverse and inclusive ecosystem

From female leaders to millennials to foreign employees, a diverse workforce is one that supports a multitude of perspectives from all walks of life. No longer about the numbers, diversity has become a strategic business imperative, in order to support a business’ sustainability in a VUCA climate. To encourage the representation of minorities and provide opportunities for a more diverse talent pool, leaders will need to become proactive in enabling diversity management to create a culture of collaboration, idea-sharing and equality. Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical company is setting an example by way of embracing diversity and inclusion into their talent training material. This comes with the understanding that sourcing candidates for their knowledge and expertise is not only essential for hiring and retaining top talent – but for the health of their bottom line, too.

Creating a more dynamic organisation

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, the demand for more flexible and adaptable workplaces increase. In an agile organisation, the ability to support free-flowing ideas and respond rapidly to change relies heavily on an organisation’s managerial and cultural ethos – the stable backbone that becomes the foundation of the company’s future successes. Wouter Aghina and Aaron De Smet, leaders of organisation design at McKinsey, are examples of experts navigating organisations through turbulent and rapidly changing environments. Like Aghina and De Smet, the leaders of tomorrow are those who can look instability and uncertainty in the eyes and adapt to the changes in their external environment with ease and conviction. This ability to be comfortable with discomfort is a skill all leaders will need to hone to not only survive but also thrive in the future of work.

While we cannot predict the future, we can certainly prepare for it. How is your leadership equipping themselves to take on the future of work?