Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes
Many people believe that leadership is defined by the accomplishment of a great deed. For them, it is a result. On the contrary, a leader is simply a person who makes a difference in someone else’s life. We all do that every day, in one way or another. With this understanding, the future of leadership is secure but changes will need to be made in the way it will be exhibited, especially in business.
This is a result of the rapid pace of change in the world around us; the advances in technology are changing the way we do things; the multi-generations in the workplace are requiring a different environment and culture; the globalization of industry is complicating business; and, the internet and social media are demanding actions in a more timely manner than ever before. Leadership has never faced such challenges and risks.
One of the most dramatic changes a leader of the future will have to face involves those in the workforce. Employees are working more independently and are asking for greater flexibility at work. These trends should continue. Consequently, a decentralized workforce will become more predominate, especially when one considers the dispersed workforce already necessary due to the global marketplace.
Leaders will have to create a network of individuals with the varied skills required to competitively provide the goods and services their customers demand. To do so, they will rely more heavily on on-line communication, both for direction and collaboration among team members. To keep up with the changes in technology and to stay one step ahead of the competition, there will be an even great reliance on establishing a ‘pool’ of vendors and temporary employees to address specific areas of expanding expertise in a timely and most effective manner.
Future leadership structure will be similar to today, but with more delegation and decentralization to provide immediate, geographic area relevant decisions. This will result in more ‘lower level’ leaders of disparate teams and a greater responsibility for ‘upper level’ leaders who will balance the strategies and actions of organizations worldwide and across areas of technical expertise.
The dichotomy of independent workers and the need for greater teamwork and cooperation will be one of the greatest challenges future leaders will face but they can be successful if they remember the basic tenets of leadership that work today and will work into the foreseeable future:
- To be a leader one must have followers.
- People follow an individual whom they respect and trust because (s)he has shown prowess in a certain field.
- Leaders have a vision which inspires a passion in them and others.
- Making people feel safe and/or be successful endears a leader to his followers.
- Leaders possess an intellectual curiosity, an insatiable quest for knowledge.
- People are attracted to leaders who value their input and care about them as an individual.
There will be changes to the focus future leaders will have on customer and team needs and on behaviors that produce desired results, as well as changes in the scope, the decentralization and delegation of responsibilities and accountability among employees and contract support.
Future leaders will be those that continue to make a positive difference in someone else’s life and remember the advice of Zig Ziglar:
‘You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.”