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Developing Leaders for an Unknown Future

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The world has changed, society has changed, even the definition of leadership has changed. From what we were once, the fast-paced world, we have settled around and changed our ways and methods. The pandemic has created intense pressure on leaders worldwide to redefine what is demanded of them.

Read this blog to know how to develop leaders for an unknown future.

Who are the leaders of the future – 2025? 2030? 2035? Do you know who will lead your organisation 10 years from now, 20 years from now? Why even go so far, do you know who will lead your firm tomorrow, or even the next week? The question is, are you prepared for the next phase? Are you better equipped for what is coming along the way?

The world has changed, society has changed, even the definition of leadership has changed. From what we were once, the fast-paced world, we have settled around and changed our ways and methods. The pandemic has created intense pressure on leaders worldwide to redefine what is demanded of them. We need to adopt new ideas and develop our leaders to successfully take our organisations into the future.

Individuals and organisations will need to broaden and change their concept of leadership and how they apply it in the future to be successful. Individual leaders who advocate for leadership as a team effort and build skills in themselves and others to encourage a more inclusive approach to leadership will continue to be crucial to the success of companies. Simultaneously, companies will need to improve their ability to tap into their collective resources in order to recognise difficulties, comprehend their consequences, and respond to them in more interconnected ways.

Before delving more deeply into what we might mean when we say developing leaders for an uncertain future, it might be helpful to place this into the context of leadership before the pandemic had hit. 

Leadership Development Then

Leadership has existed from the beginning of time and can be found in any human community, society, or organisation. Throughout history from the early civilisations, biblical stories, to historical records have all wielded power over others. In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, it was the desire for growth, progress, and advantage that motivated scholars to study leaders and leadership in depth in order to find threads and patterns. Following that, a zillion definitions of leadership arose, as well as theories, all with the goal of explaining one of humanity’s most fundamental behavioural traits: our desire to be led and followed by others, which we choose to do mostly as an act of will.

Let’s face it, we live in a world where we don’t need a year-long development programme for our leaders, that bear results later. Even the decades of training and year-long experience which was once a compulsory possession have now become outdated. 

  • Leadership was much more focused on driving goals and attaining results.  
  • Strengthening others by increasing self-determination and developing competence was given much importance.
  • The vision of the leader was the common vision of the group.
  • Leadership was more about the organisation’s development than the development of the individuals. 
  • Individuals in positions of authority in a hierarchical system are central to the traditional understanding of leadership.
  • Building teams was not needed. The focus was individuals leading teams rather than team-leading teams.
  • Collaboration, mental wellbeing, and work-life balance had a blurred vision.

Leadership Development Now

When Plato was developing his ideal state as explained in The Republic, he gave the top roles to those he called philosopher kings. These Guardians, as they were dubbed, would require specific training to prepare them for their responsibilities. Only then, he argued, would such people have the perspective, wisdom, and discernment to make judgments that would have an impact on all of the persons in their care. The actual doers—warriors, merchants, and laborers—were lower in the hierarchy, despite their importance. If Plato were alive now, he might worry if our organisations’ guardians—a better title than CEO or leaders, are well prepared for the uncertain future.

It’s true if Plato were to reconsider his system, even if we need to account for the unprecedented complexity that leaders and organisations encounter today, we clearly need a new way of thinking about leadership. Now the question is, what is the future of leadership development? Do we let go of all the leadership principles or do we restructure our process? What should be leadership development today? Here are some of the features. 

  1. Working As A Collective Team: The definition of leadership needs to be broadened. it was once based on individual abilities, behaviour, and power. Although these criteria are still vital and relevant, CCL’s new definition of leadership is more inclusive, looking at leadership from the middle out, across functions and organisations. We need to define leadership as the combined efforts of organisational members to achieve three goals: defining direction, fostering commitment, and ensuring alignment.
  2. Personal Development: Leaders need to have a correct understanding of their own sense of identity in terms of strengths, distinctiveness, personality, and values along with a feeling of their personal life vision and legacy, or, to put it another way, their purpose, what they hope to achieve and/or leave behind over time.
  3. Team Leading Team: Leadership development today needs to focus more on team leading teams rather than individuals leading teams. We need to let go of the idea that leaders are our heroes and accept that leaders are the hosts who promote shared learning, team collaboration, effective group decision-making, and goal setting as well as mutual accountability for our actions.
  4. Eudaimonia: If we want to get the most out of life, the concept of eudaimonia advises that we should each, individual or organisation, develop our own unique abilities and resources to the fullest extent possible. Each firm needs a unique mission, one that will undoubtedly go beyond increasing shareholder wealth. If leaders accept this cause for our mortal existence, they must remember that they have a commitment to guarantee that everyone who works with and for them has the opportunity to choose their specific purpose and develop their potential to achieve it.
  5. Adaptability: Leaders need to continuously be more adaptive to change. They should focus on exploring options and possibilities to deliver the best they can. They should understand that they need to be prepared for what’s coming their way rather than standing unarmed.
  6. Skill Development: As we adapt and respond to new information or intelligence that is found in abundance today, we need to develop a routine to cultivate knowledge and use skills “on the fly” in collective leadership. We should know how to move through the uncertainty.

The Big Picture 

Another revolution is underway, and it is having a significant impact on our perceptions of leadership and the qualities we seek in those who choose to lead us. This transformation affects everyone on earth in a variety of ways at the same time. Consider that for a moment. Start by learning what’s going on and then entering the arena fully prepared to fight. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is developing leaders for an uncertain future important?

To be successful, individuals and organisations will need to broaden and adapt their perspectives on leadership and how they apply it in the future. Individual leaders who promote leadership as a team effort and develop capabilities in themselves and others to promote a more inclusive style to leadership will continue to be critical to a company’s success.

How was leadership development before pandemic?

  • Leadership was considerably more concerned with achieving objectives and achieving results.
  • It was emphasised the necessity of empowering people by promoting self-determination and fostering competence.
  • The group’s vision was shaped by the leader’s vision.
  • Leadership was more concerned with the development of the organisation than with the development of individuals.

How is leadership development after pandemic?

  1. Working As A Collective Team
  2. Personal Development
  3. Team Leading Team
  4. Eudaimonia
  5. Adaptability

Why is working as a collective team important?

The term “leadership” should be defined more broadly. It used to be based on a person’s abilities, actions, and power. While these requirements remain important and relevant, CCL’s new definition of leadership is more inclusive, considering leadership from the middle out, across functions and organisations. We must define leadership as the efforts of all members of an organisation to accomplish three goals: setting direction, developing commitment, and assuring alignment.

What is team leading team?

Today’s leadership development must emphasise collaborative leadership rather than individual leadership. We must let go of the notion that leaders are our heroes and instead recognise that they are hosts who facilitate shared learning, team cooperation, successful group decision-making, and goal-setting, as well as mutual accountability for our actions.

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