Lead this! Leadership demands call for a new mindset

The challenge is big.  Talking with VP of HR recently, he rehearsed the challenges of slow growth in Europe on the one hand and the potential for explosive growth in China and other countries throughout Asia.  His leaders need the business chops and the leadership agility to work in different markets with very different kinds of people.  He was quick to say that he’s got great people that are rising to the challenge.  Still, he’s got good reason to be concerned.

Jagged, uncertain, emergent

Persistent new demands call for a new leadership mindset

Developing a new kind of leader is the most urgent need identified by business and HR leaders worldwide in a recent study of human capital management trends published by Deloitte.

The report names the top three forces proving that today’s leadership model needs to change:

“Jagged markets”

As opportunity emerges in markets, leaders need to know how to create value from very different conditions: mature markets in Europe, emerging markets in Brazil, and discontinuous, entrepreneurial markets in, say, China.  The forces affecting strategy and execution change often.  Leaders need to operate well in all of them.

Chronic uncertainty

It is easier than ever to know what can be known.  But making sense of the complexity is more difficult than ever. And the drive for disruptive innovation makes likely that a competitor will appear where they are least expected.  Of course, leaders already know this.  But fewer leaders recognize and account for that uncertainty day by day.

Innovation threat

Established product and market leaders have less advantage today than they did ten years ago.  The ecosystem of opportunity is bigger than ever, which means that the environment leaders need to monitor is sprawling.  And it may be expanding.

Leadership thinking may hold you back

The leadership demands are big, too.  They’re bigger than anyone in a C-suite role.  But the mental model of the individual leader is deeply ingrained in minds and egos.  Those who want to be that superhuman leader may already be skidding off the fast track to that senior role that they, and many others, hoped they’d pull into without incident.

Becoming the leader and manager who can thrive in this environment is a leader’s responsibility.  But the organizations that rely on them have a responsibility to create the opportunities to thrive and learn.

If you’re a leader or responsible for leaders in your organization, what’s not working about our leadership model and how should we change our minds?

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