Leadership models, concepts and styles are still largely attached to the industrial age. Staying attached to these practices risks being left behind, and/or failing completely. There are three major forces demanding changes in leadership:
- Volatile market connectivity – provided by social media, and the influence of relationship building, is demanding higher competency in social insight skills.
- Ever shrinking product development cycles – driven by technology supporting rapid innovation and development. This demand greater levels of collaboration, not just within the corporate walls, but also in the form of co-development with strategic partners and even customers. This is changing business operating models from traditional value chains to ever-evolving business ecologies. This requires new skill sets in leaders to build and nurture these networks of the future.
- Cognitive technologies – already machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cognitive computing are moving us down the pathway towards singularity. As machines become more integrated with man, leaders will face difficult ethical and moral decisions, ones that will determine how well ‘The Human Factor‘ is retained.
There are many theories of leadership culture and methodology. Some pass as management fads and others stay entrenched in the endevour for optimal human performance.
Most leadership theories, models and concepts were developed in the 1960’s – shadowing the industrial age. As markets and technology development moved slowly towards the end of the 20th century, leadership attempted to evolve. Largely, these evolutions were classified as fads or impractical academic theories.
In the past 10 years, things have sped up considerably, and the industrial age has been eclipsed by the information age. Many of the hard skills were still relevant, but the more important relationship related skills, dubbed ‘soft skills’ were grossly inadequate, if at all present.
The autocratic, authorative, pacesetting leadership styles may have worked in an environment of slow, incremental change. Business today is fast, often with transformational change every 2-3 years. This demands a more affiliative, coaching style of leadership that uses authentic influence to engage employees in the corporate vision, and motivate them to execute its strategy.
Today’s workers do less physical, and more mental work. They require a different working environment, and a different working relationship with their managers and co-workers. Today, leaders need to be inclusive, transformational, globally savvy and emotionally intelligent.
The term ‘inclusive leadership’ encompasses the discovery that emotional intelligence accounts for 90% of leadership success. Studies by Daniel Goleman also confirmed that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability!
Transformational leaders need influence, strong relationship skills and a deep understanding of employee engagement, motivation and retention [EMR].
Emotional intelligence is the combined competence of being aware of ones own emotions, and those of others, regulating ones responses to those emotions, then acting in a productive way.