The Future of Leadership

Hello Friends!

It’s a cold rainy Saturday as I write this week’s newsletter, the fiftieth issue! Ordinarily, the newsletter gets written mid-week and sent out on a Friday morning, but after three wonderful yet full weeks of facilitating offsite corporate workshops, I decided to put quality ahead of consistency and write this once I was back at home and able to be fully present!
 
One of my workshops was two days of setting the strategy for the new fiscal year. A central pillar of those discussions was HOW to lead: in a world where the pace of work has accelerated; where hybrid work is now the norm; where we need to create more with less – how do we do that? What does the future of leadership look like?

BETTER’ IS BETTER THAN BEST…

During that workshop, I referenced one of my favourite quotes from Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game:

Infinite-minded leaders understand that ‘best’ is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be ‘better. ‘Better’ suggests a journey of continuous improvement and makes us feel like we are being invited to contribute our talents and energies to make progress in that journey. ‘Better’, in the Infinite Game, is ‘better’ than ‘best’.

For me, this really sums up the Future of Leadership: having the mindset of continuous improvement, and leading by and through that example. It also really encompasses the Theory of Adult Development, and the growth that comes through moving from the Socialized Mind to the Self-Authoring Mind – which has been shown to have a direct correlation with effective leadership. The group continually referred back to this quote throughout the workshop as one lens through which to determine which strategies to focus on and which actions to choose.

THE FUTURE OF LEADERSHIP…

As the Harvard Business Review declared recently:
 
The most effective leadership today isn’t about technical expertise and having all the answers. It’s about being human, showing vulnerability, connecting with people, and being able to unleash their potential.”
 
How true! Leadership is changing, and is becoming much more about people skills and mindsets, rather than tactical expertise. “While some aspects of leadership, such as setting a vision and executing on strategy, will remain, the future leader will need to possess a new arsenal of skills and mindsets to lead effectively.” In this Forbes article on Leadership in 2030 (shockingly just over 7 years away!), Jacob Morgan writes that leadership will be about 4 key mindsets and 5 important skills:
 
Mindsets:

  1. Global Citizen
  2. Servant
  3. Chef
  4. Explorer

Skills:

  1. Coach
  2. Futurist
  3. Technology Teenager
  4. Translator
  5. Yoda

 
I particularly liked the description of the Yoda skill: “For decades, leaders have shied away from being emotional. But in the future, leaders need to be emotionally intelligent like Yoda and develop their empathy and self-awareness. Great communicators build connections and aren’t afraid to be vulnerable.” In my coaching, I talk a lot about how communication is THE skill of leadership: communicating with yourself and communicating with others. From here on out, I’m calling it the Yoda Skill!

THE FUTURE IS NEW…

Recently when at a German government office with my husband, I was surprised and frustrated that despite that same office having issued my husband’s passport, and him showing said passport to the bureaucrat who was helping us, she manually input all his data into a form we needed officially filled out. It was such a clear example of how the concept of “digitalization” is prioritized – but thinking through how and what we digitalize is not!
 
The future of work shouldn’t be based on the cow paths of the past” – a great reference and a true statement! How we did things in the past – before digitalization, before working from home, before the Fourth Industrial Revolution – shouldn’t be the only driver (or even one of them?!) for how we do things in the future. This TED Talk on 3 Tips for Leaders to Get the Future of Work Right really drives home this point.

SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP…

Brené Brown, Adam Grant, and Simon Sinek. It’s the Trifecta of Leadership Gurus!!! These three are renowned experts in their fields – leadership, shame & vulnerability; organizational psychology; business strategy, respectively – and I have read, followed, listened, and learned so much from each of them.
 
So having them all together in one podcast?! Leadership Dynamite!!
 
Brown recently hosted Grant and Sinek on her Dare to Lead podcast, to discuss “What’s Happening at Work”. It was such a good listen!! There is so much gold in there. My favourite line? “The best way to succeed is to help other people succeed.”
 
It is more than just sound-bites. It’s a deep and interesting discussion on the future of leadership, and a riveting listen!

WHAT I’M READING…

Nothing beats browsing in a brick-and-mortar book shop! One of my favourite things to do when I’m in an English-speaking country is to spend time in books shops, looking at books and discovering new authors and stories. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, Tina, but I confess that in the literal sense I do! 😉  I love picking up books to check out their short blurb and deciding spontaneously that this is a story I’d like to read.
 
When I was in Toronto in the summer, I spent multiple hours in one of my favourite book stores. Just browsing. Well, okay, browsing and buying books! And one of the books I picked up because I liked the title, I liked the cover, and I liked the little blurb!
 
The Weight of Ink has so many elements that I love: history, a strong female protagonist, interest in reading and learning, an interwoven story. It starts out slowly, and is by no means a fast-paced thriller, but it is such a fascinating story of a small section of history I know next to nothing about. Did you know that Jews were banned from England in the late 1200s and only allowed to return in 1656?? I did not! Nor did I know that women were not allowed to be scribes – literacy and literary vocations were deemed a man’s world. So the story of Ester Velazquez moving to London from Amsterdam and scribing for a learned rabbi there was so interesting! And so well-told and interwoven with the story of Helen Watt, the modern-day historian who discovers Ester’s story. Very enjoyable!

It is such a joy to work with so many leaders who are on this journey of continuous improvement, and who are actively choosing ‘better’ as better than best. There are as many ideas on leadership out there as there are leaders, and it is such a rich and multi-faceted topic that I find endlessly fascinating! I hope you get as much out of these small snippets of leadership development discussions as I do!

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful week!

Stay healthy!

Hugs,

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