In leadership, there is hardly any room for further experimentation. Many leadership styles have been ‘tested’ and those which have been more effective seem to be often neglected. Why?  One of the most effective leadership styles (according to various press releases) described by Nelson Mandela is known as ‘leading from behind‘,  which compares a leader with a shepherd.  Is this the leadership style of the future?

Leadership and management

This is an ambitious attempt to illustrate the leadership style of the future.  A differentiation must be made between Leadership and Management. Those two roles are not always clearly distinguished in daily business operations and activities.

Management should refer to things and situations and not to people. If we apply the word ‘management’ to people, then we may act objectively.  People may not want to be managed.  In contrast, leadership relates to the positive influence and inspiration of people. People often do what a leader expects them to because they have trust and confidence in them.  They feel good and motivated in the environment the leader creates for them.

Real life and experience have repeatedly shown that it is an exceptionally tough (and not viable) task for a leader to try to change others. Instead, it is more realistic and efficient to change himself, to become a role model for his people and thus to exert a positive influence on them and their behaviours.

The leadership style of the future is the supportive and cooperative style which does not rely its effectiveness on authority. An effective leader does not criticize or condemn. Instead,  he creates an environment of accountability, allows space for decision making and holds his people accountable either for their behaviours or/and for their results.

What needs to change?

Sadly, in our hectic ‘modern’ world, in which money and power seem to have taken over, we often neglect the human factor. In the long run, this may prove disastrous for an organization or even for the society itself.

An effective leader needs to realize:

  • They must change the way they perceive people’s motivation,
  • What it takes to get along with people and
  • How to tap into the strengths/talents of his/her people and play to them.

Dale Carnegie thoroughly explained, decades ago, the significance of understanding people and knowing how to influence people (also as a leader) to get along with them. His book ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ is an exceptional read also for future leaders.

A Common Vision

I was fortunate to participate in the development of a team which organized its work based on a common vision, on agreed (by all members) ground rules and core values and on the dedication of the team members to mutually support each other as and when needed. The team leader decided to act as a coach and facilitator for the team members and by involving them in the decision-making process he created an environment of engagement and accountability. The team achieved outstanding results and they all celebrated their successes as a team and not as individuals.

Leadership Styles Of The Future

The business world is facing rapid changes and there are many other aspects of leadership which need to be considered.  In a rapidly evolving business landscape, leaders must adapt to remain effective. Here are 15 leadership styles poised to meet future challenges.

1. Agile Leadership

Agile leaders thrive in fast-paced environments. They quickly adapt to change, making them indispensable in our ever-evolving digital world.

2. Collaborative Leadership

This style fosters teamwork and open communication. It’s crucial for businesses aiming to cultivate innovation and creativity.

3. Empathetic Leadership

Empathy builds trust and loyalty. Leaders who understand and value their team’s perspectives will excel in employee-centric workplaces.

4. Inclusive Leadership

Diversity drives innovation. Inclusive leaders who embrace different viewpoints will lead companies to new heights.

5. Sustainable Leadership

With growing environmental concerns, leaders prioritizing sustainability will guide businesses towards eco-friendly practices.

6. Data-Driven Leadership

Data is king in the digital age. Leaders who make informed decisions based on analytics will outperform competitors.

7. Remote Leadership

The rise of remote work demands leaders skilled in managing dispersed teams. Effective remote leadership ensures productivity and team cohesion.

8. Resilient Leadership

In times of crisis, resilient leaders shine. They maintain focus and inspire confidence, guiding their teams through challenges.

9. Visionary Leadership

Visionaries see beyond the horizon. Their forward-thinking approach is vital for businesses aiming to stay ahead of the curve.

10. Ethical Leadership

Ethical leaders build trust and integrity. In an era of increased accountability, their approach is more relevant than ever.

11. Transformational Leadership

These leaders inspire and motivate. They are key to driving significant change and innovation in organizations.

12. Servant Leadership

Putting others first, servant leaders boost morale and engagement, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.

13. Digital Leadership

Mastery of digital tools and trends is essential. Digital leaders will steer companies through the tech-driven landscape.

14. Cross-Cultural Leadership

Globalization demands leaders who can navigate diverse cultural landscapes, making cross-cultural leadership invaluable.

15. Strategic Leadership

Strategic leaders excel in planning and execution. They are critical for guiding businesses through complex market dynamics.

Each style addresses specific future challenges, from technological advancements to global crises. Leaders who adapt and integrate these styles will drive their organizations to success in an unpredictable future.

Characteristics Of Leaders Of The Future

The landscape of business leadership is evolving rapidly. Here are five defining characteristics of future business leaders, reshaping our understanding of what it takes to lead.

1. Beyond Boundaries: Embracing Diversity

Future leaders won’t be defined by race, gender, or background. They’ll be recognized for their ambition and ability to claim their place in the business world. This shift towards a more inclusive leadership model reflects a broader societal change, where diversity in leadership is not just welcomed but expected.

2. The Rise of the Self-Taught Leader

They don’t rely solely on formal education but are lifelong learners, often showcasing their business acumen early in life. Companies are adapting, seeking talent in unconventional places, valuing skills and passion over traditional credentials.

3. Profit and Progress: A Dual Drive

Future leaders will be driven by both profit and progress, though this may come at the cost of empathy and interpersonal skills. Their upbringing in a technology-centric world shapes this perspective. They leverage platforms like blogs and YouTube to build their brand and influence, embodying a new wave of entrepreneurial spirit.

4. Unconventional Problem Solvers

These leaders won’t follow traditional paths, nor will they offer traditional solutions. Their unique approaches to problem-solving will address issues in innovative ways, often surprising consumers with solutions to problems they didn’t even know existed.

5. Self-Appointed Agents of Change

Future leaders see themselves as change-makers, not waiting for permission or approval. They are self-directed and committed to fulfilling their vision of leadership and impact. Their determination is unwavering, and they seek to carve their path rather than follow established routes.

In summary, the next generation of business leaders will be diverse, self-taught, profit and progress-driven, unconventional, and self-appointed. They will challenge the status quo and redefine what it means to lead. As we encounter these traits repeatedly, it’s crucial to understand and embrace them to fully appreciate the new wave of leadership shaping our world.


People are proud and they enjoy following those who respect them and support them in difficult times. They need to belong and to feel important. People need encouragement and rewards.

The leadership style of the future belongs to leaders who apart from basic leadership traits (such as risk-taking, accountability, positive attitude, stability and persistence, emotional maturity, self-motivation etc.) will play a supportive role as coaches to their direct reports. Those leaders are going to direct their people to more and better achievements without losing sight of core values and ethics.

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Ioannis has worked for many years in leading manufacturing companies in Greece and achieved proven results in building effective teams, in improving team performance, in interviewing and selecting new personnel etc. In January 2012 he founded the business consulting company SUCCESSKeysGR which supports individuals and teams worldwide to improve their performance. He is certified McQuaig system user and interpreter and also certified with the international standard ISO 29990:2010 for professional coaching/mentoring, personnel development and seminars