When it comes to the future of leadership, there’s no crystal ball. But by examining some of the key trends influencing the business world, we can start to identify the competencies that can equip today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
HRSG’s transformational leadership competencies were developed to support the shift away from a traditional, autocratic leadership style and towards a more collaborative, inclusive leadership model. While those competencies form an essential part of every leader’s profile, additional competencies can be added to help leaders address specific business challenges.
Here, we look at three competencies—including personal, general, and foundational business competencies—that complement transformational leadership competencies and prepare leaders for some of the biggest workplace trends.
Building a values-driven workplace
Employees are less motivated by prestige and paychecks, and more focused on work that aligns with their values. While this shift in mindset is evident among employees of all ages, it’s particularly prevalent among Millennial employees, who account for more than one-third of the North American workforce today, and will make up the majority of workers in 2020.
Reaching and inspiring this fast-growing demographic will require leaders to know how to create a strong culture by showing employees how their performance aligns in tangible ways with the vision and values of the organization. This promotes a sense of purpose, enthusiasm, and commitment among employees who want to feel that they are contributing to something meaningful and bigger than themselves.
FOUNDATIONAL BUSINESS COMPETENCY
Forging strategic alliances
Leaders will need to focus on opportunities for cross-sector partnerships as these alliances become increasingly critical to growth and continued success. A UK study conducted in 2015 by PwC indicated that 46 per cent of CEOs across a wide range of industries were planning to enter a new joint venture or strategic alliance – up from 44 percent in 2014. In PwC’s 2016 CEO Survey, 59% of CEOs in the US planned to pursue an alliance or joint venture.
As technologies break down geographic barriers and industry silos, creative partnerships can be powerfully transformative. For example, the points of synergy between a transportation network and a language certification company may not be immediately intuitive, but the partnership between Duolingo and Uber has proven highly beneficial to both parties since it was established in 2015. An ability to identify, evaluate, and pursue these types of creative and unexpected partnerships is a key leadership capability.
Navigating growing complexity
Global connectedness, the fast pace of technological change and obsolescence, and rapid urbanization are just some of the trends behind the quickening pace of business. As a consequence of these pressures, businesses are subject to greater volatility and risk: according to research from Yale University, the average lifespan of an S&P company has shrunk from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.
The threat is very real to today’s leaders: a KPMG International study showed that 94% of executives believe that managing complexity is crucial to the success of their company. But what attributes do leaders need to cultivate in order to manage what DDI describes as the “VUCA vortex,” a combination of “volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity” that is now “business as usual” for most organizations?
In an information-rich and time-poor world, the capacity to think strategically is critical. Leaders must be able to process and synthesize massive amounts of information, accommodate widely differing perspectives, and make decisions confidently without access to the full context.
ENABLING PERSONAL COMPETENCY
The ability to lead can be learned and this list is a great starting point. What leadership competencies would you add to this list?
For more information on developing leaders who are prepared for today’s challenges, download the free ebook, “Leading Change: How to Develop Transformational Leaders Using Competencies.”
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