Building the Leader of the Future

 -  10/20/11

To be successful, your company’s future leaders may need to abandon the very behaviors that propelled them to the top. A recent report highlights the global trends you can use today to prepare the leaders of tomorrow.

Don’t try to be a hero. That’s the message for leaders from recent research conducted by management consulting firm Hay Group.

The new world order — rapidly changing business environments and information overload — means organizations need to adapt their culture, systems and processes to survive. To cope, leaders of the future should adopt a “post-heroic” leadership style focused on intellectual openness and collaboration.

“It’s not that person standing up and saying ‘I have the solutions, you guys follow me,’” said Signe Spencer, a senior consultant with Hay Group. “It’s saying, let’s all sit down at the table and figure this out.”

Spencer said the leaders of the future realize that the value they bring isn’t necessarily in their own knowledge, skills and abilities. It’s in being something like a good cocktail host, bringing out other people’s ideas and insights and making connections between them.

“It’s a whole different set of competencies. Instead of orienting vertically, hierarchically in silos … it’s about how can I bring people together, how can I be a catalyst,” she said.

Global Trends Driving Post-Heroic Style

The Hay Group report, “Leadership 2030,” identifies the global trends that are driving the need for more open, collaborative and conceptual leaders, including:

• Globalization: Increasingly diverse teams and the rise of the global middle class mean leaders need to bridge global and local divides and manage the resulting risk and volatility.

• Climate change: Scarcity of key resources and rising operational costs mean leaders need to be able to balance competing demands for financial success and social responsibility.

• Demographic shifts: Fewer qualified people mean leaders need to work harder to attract, motivate and retain increasingly diverse teams.

• Digital lifestyle and skills: As organizations become more virtual and technology blurs the boundaries between home and work, leaders need to be able to harness the power of technology to foster collaboration and be able to operate with integrity in a more transparent business environment.

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