Leadership is changing just as fast as the rest of the world. With the changing workplace and the potential threat of automation, there is now a need for leadership that can help guide companies through these changes.
Just like any business model or product, a leader can become obsolete if they don’t keep up with the times. Throughout our working lives, we’ve had our experience with bad leadership to know the impact it can have on employees and the overall business.
We look at what types of bosses we would like to have
To help navigate the changing work environment, we’ve put together five traits we think a modern day leader should possess
Trait 1: A learning mindset
A leader that can develop or already possesses the ability and constant willingness to learn new skills is an asset to any business. Being flexible and able to discard disciplines or traits that no longer work is just as valuable.
We cannot predict the future and being a first-mover is a risk, so businesses often have to play catch-up when it comes to changing consumer habits and cultural shifts. Therefore, having a leader on hand that can adapt along with it and guide the company through the transition will help keep everyone on the right track.
Trait 2: Be a network builder
Besides being a great manager of people and a strategic genius, having a leader with a strong network or the ability to build a network and partnerships is becoming crucial in today’s business world.
Growth used to be focused on expansion, great business models and strong execution. However, innovation and the evolving technology industry is changing how companies can grow. Creating partnerships and being able to create a nimble company is crucial for startups looking to disrupt or enter an evolving industry.
External factors like regulations, politics, complementary industries and other similar aspects, are just as crucial to the business as a great process or product. Having a leader with skills to develop a network that encompasses those aspects will future-proof your business and ensure strong growth regardless of how the industry evolves.
Trait 3: Understand cultural changes
Globalisation is bringing us together, but at the same time showing us exactly how far apart we are from the people around us. Barriers such as distance, language, and other aspects are no longer issues to many companies as remote teams continue to gain popularity.
Does this mean that cultural differences have completely disappeared? If anything it has highlighted that cultural differences is now more pronounced between generations rather than countries, as millennials and Generation Z find memes relatable and Generation Y are still confused about what exactly memes are.
A leader needs to be able to communicate to both sets of people as older employees bring experience and often, stability. Youth brings with it energy and passion, but also inexperience and even recklessness sometimes. Having a leader that can bring out the best in both will be critical.
Trait 4: Be able to connect with people
We mentioned remote work in the previous point, and a leader has to be able to manage teams regardless of their location. With the workplace getting younger, employee motivations are changing and this means that how leaders manage their teams need to change as well.
Being able to understand the motivations behind your workforce will help you attract, retain and improve productivity. Salaries and free lunches are no longer the only things that keeps people in a job. As a strong leader you have to know what people want and how to keep them motivated in their role.
Trait 5: Be analytical
This is the age of numbers and analytics, so leadership should be no different from any other industry when it comes to this evolution.
A leader is someone who is able to analyse the situation at hand appropriately and make good decisions about what to do and how to lead based on unique circumstances.
Leaders can employ startup principles when it comes to leadership by self-analysing their actions and making changes as they see fit. This will help them improve their leadership based on feedback and outcome, rather than being stubborn in their approach.