How Has Leadership Really Changed in the Last Few Years?
In recent months I’ve been asked many variations of this question by podcast hosts, leaders, at conferences and by clients.
What is different in the world of leadership?
What are the new attributes of leadership?
What is fundamentally different about leadership now?
I’m not sure what you think. Here are my thoughts.
Leaders have to take a long hard look in the mirror.
After a tough few years that have led most people to revaluate what is important to them, people are looking for leaders to be more. More human. To show more compassion and kindness. To communicate with them more openly and be more visibly leading. To connect.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
~ Angela Ahrendts (Senior Vice President, Apple)
Your people want to trust in your leadership. To know that you have their interests in mind when making decisions and taking action.
People are looking to you for leadership. Leadership through the changing world of work. Leadership into a somewhat uncertain future. Leadership in what you say and do, think, and feel. Your people, your tribe, are watching you. They want you to lead them.
Equally they want you to role model things that keep you fit to lead. Like self-care to ensure your own health and wellbeing. Then they can feel OK doing the same thing. They want you focused on where you can make the biggest difference, rather than trying to do everything yourself. They want you to engage with them, keep them informed, and ask for their input. They want you to make time for them. Time for one-on-ones, time to spend developing and growing them. They want you to grow as a leader too, so you always have something to offer them. They want you to be human.
They want to know if you are having a hard day. They want to know that some decisions are challenging to make and follow through. They want to know that you too ‘have stuff going on at home.’ That makes it more OK for them to be experiencing the same.
They want to know, like and trust you.
They want to know you set a standard for yourself. They want to know that you can admit a mistake, learn from it and do better next time.
They want to know you are a human leading other humans. They want to know you understand that leading others is a privilege, not a right. That leadership is not holding a place on an organisation chart but rather a being of leadership that happens all day every day.
They want to know you have a heart…and that heart has a place in your leadership.
“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”
~ Simon Sinek
So how has leadership changed in the last few years?
I don’t believe the fundamentals of leadership have changed.
I do believe the expectations our people have of us as leaders have changed fundamentally. They expect more. And we, you and I, need to step up and know, be and do more.
I’d love to know your thoughts.