The Future of Leadership

We must evolve our leadership ability in our organizations. We have let the messiness of humanity get in the way of relating to employees as people. Take a look at HR policies that too often include a too long a list of don’ts that reject modern day realities. And let’s not forget that we’ve designed hierarchies that defy that natural ways in which people interact.

Such statements isn’t to say the constructs of leadership today should be disregarded. That, in fact, would be incredibly egregious of us.

Our past should inform our present abilities and thinking. It, however, should not anchor us to stale leadership and management practices that don’t mirror the way we interact to create value for customers, shareholders and even employees.

We believe these times are exciting and dynamic. The context that influences leadership has put into play significant changes not seen before:

  • Lightening speed availability of information through social technology and the Internet
  • Economies that play greater roles on the global stage. Think China, Brazil, India, for example.
  • Generational transitions in the workplace that bring Boomers, Gen Y and Gen X together at the same time and all have different viewpoints on the meaning of work and the relationship with an employer.

With so many factors converging on businesses an intriguing question is: what does leadership need to look like in the 21st century?

We decided to devote a month to this topic. We’ve invited many authors and bloggers to explore this topic. Through March a great many thinkers and doers will shed light on what they believe is needed for leadership to guide people and businesses through these dynamic times.

We’d like you to join the conversation. Read the great many thoughts. Together let’s explore and learn about the future of leadership. Here are the great minds contributing to our series. We’ll continue to add names throughout the series. So be sure to come back often to see who we added. Of course we also want you to read the great thought leadership on the topic, too.

  • Ted Coine
  • Shawn Murphy

 Image  courtesy of Systematic Abstractions

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post. The Optimistic Workplace (AMACOM) out 2015

  • “We must evolve our leadership ability in our organizations.”

    I think that line sums perfectly the importance of a re-thought in what leadership means. Our world is permanently changing, and ‘traditional’ business models are being shaken everyday. And for the foreseeable future, the challenges we face will grow, but so will the opportunities. As Unilever CEO Paul Polman said at the launch of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, “We cannot choose between growth and sustainability. We have to do both”.

    Yet, some business leaders are failing, and the current crisis has shown that responsible leadership is a must. The origin of the economic crisis can be traced back to the bad practices in the financial industry. And certainly, environmental catastrophes caused by business makes a strong case for companies to revisit the concept of leadership. Thought leadership.

    This weekend I was a participant at a Doing Good Doing Well conference, hosted by a European Business School. It’s very interesting to be part of this student-run initiatives as it’s is perceived that academic institutions have a bit of a blame in the current crisis, and recently have been under heavy scrutiny.

    Students must realize the fact that being an MBA student is a privilege; a privilege that we should take advantage of to learn as much as we can and to make an meaningful impact. No doubt a group of students look at an MBA program and just think they are buying a degree, and this is a saddening reality. Business schools and students must be socially conscious and responsible. This means sharing their knowledge and expertise in tackling poverty related problems. The world just doesn’t need another cool smartphone app. MBAs can (and should) show the way forward.

    I suggest you include Dr. Thomas Maak in your list and contact him. He’s co-author of: “Developing responsible global leaders through international service learning programs: The Ulysses experience.” And co-directed from 2004 to 2009 a research for PwC’s Ulysses Project.

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    There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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