Future Trends Leadership Development

The nature of the challenges faced by leaders are changing rapidly; yet, the methods used for developing them remain the same.

We are still using typical methods such as, on-the-job experiences, training, coaching and mentoring etc. Most of the leaders who are the part of these programs are happy on account of what was delivered and not necessarily, whether it was needed by them? No doubt, these methodologies are still important, but are unable to develop leaders fast enough or in the right ways to match the new environment.

The Challenge Ahead

The approach of finding out as to WHAT good leadership looks like is no more a challenge; what is a bigger challenge is HOW to develop leadership skills. One of the greatest challenges for leaders today is the pace of change and the complexity of the challenges faced. Especially, the most recent global recession that began in December 2007, has changed the work environment completely. The new work environment mimics the white water. The turbulence i.e. the growing complexity of work environments is the cause of single biggest concern for most of the organisations that are unable to cope up with the complexity of today’s world.

Horizontal V/s. Vertical development

As of now most of our efforts towards leadership development are based upon developing competencies (Horizontal Development). However, very little focus is given on designing and inculcating stages of leadership development (Vertical Development). Horizontal development is easy as the skills can be imparted by an expert, whereas vertical development is to be carried out by the individuals following a structured path of learning.

Transfer of accountability of development to the individual

The current model of training needs to be replaced with learning and development. This is because, when HR or training department chase or follow leaders for attending training courses it makes them feel as if they (HR & Training) are responsible for their development. On the other hand, if leaders themselves realise the need of their own development they will develop faster as they will accept the ownership.

Focus on collective instead of individual leadership

Current leadership development is too individualistic, and as leaders grow up the ladder it is becoming exclusive too. The old approach wherein the leadership used to reside in one single individual needs to change. Today, the work environment requires to have a collective leadership through network of people. In today’s scenario instead of thinking about who is the leader organisations need to think about creating conditions that will help network of leadership to flourish.

Need of innovation in leadership development methodologies

Current methodologies of leadership development need to change for good. Most of the existing models for leadership development are based on developing individual leaders. They are insufficient to develop the levels of collective leadership, which is required to meet the needs of today’s VUCA world. Organisations today need innovation or need to adopt to new approaches, which will help them combine diverse ideas into practice using latest technology and the internet.  

Skill Set for future leaders

Today, there is an information overload and on top of that most of the times information is vague, inadequate, or unintelligible. Small changes can produce disproportionately large effects. Therefore, even the skill set required for future leaders have changed. The new skill set required by leaders today includes:    

  • Ability to think strategically
  • Adaptability
  • Self-awareness
  • Collaboration
  • Comfort with ambiguity
  • Creativity
  • Learning Agility
By: Vivek Mehrotra