The roadmap guiding leaders through the tangled interchanges of the business world is undergoing a complete re-calibration as it adapts to the era of hyper-change. While before, a leader’s ability and talent was the True North, now the needle points to less tangible qualities, such as engendering trust, harnessing synergy and clarifying a vision. Today’s leaders must develop an internal compass that guides their interpersonal relationships and enables them to keep their teams moving forward in the direction they want to go.
Research shows that today’s organizations need a new set of rules to effectively steer the changing workforce. They must be creative, nimble and adaptive in order to drive the organization towards growth, sustainability and success.
The effective trailblazer in this era of accelerating change must embrace the paradox of giving employees both roots and wings — roots to provide a sense of purpose and grounding in the all-important “why” of the organization, and wings to explore the “what” and the “how.”
Leaders attempting to pilot their organizations into this uncharted territory will want to encompass these values that are driving today’s successful CEOs:
- Build a foundation of trust.Business isn’t just about innovative products and services — it’s about people and the relationships built between them. The glue that holds the relationship together is trust. Trust is found at the intersection of character and competence. Conversely, when a leader’s character or competence is in question, everything slows down and becomes calculated caution.
- Make relationships a priority.Technology is connecting us globally in extremely direct and wide-ranging ways. It’s important to remember, though, that while technology can make transactional work easier and more efficient, it’s no substitute for the human connection. High-tech needs to be augmented with high-touch — both internally with staff and externally with customers and clients. Unless the company values people, indifference will spread through the organization.
- Embrace diverse perspectives.We live in a diverse world and all in leadership positions need to come to terms with any biases that drive them to prejudge entire groups of people. These biases will hold people back personally and professionally. Learn to recognize the value that every individual provides, and particularly those who bring a different perspective. Successful leaders surround themselves with personalities that differ from and balance their own. Even if there’s disagreement, hearing the input of others helps in making better, more informed decisions.
- Find what motivates others.The essence of leadership isn’t motivating people to do what you want them to do, but aligning them to do what they’re made to do. Know that what motivates Millennials is not the same as what motivates Baby Boomers or GenXers. Learning to recognize and deploy people where they’re fulfilled and effective is a key to leadership success.
- Clarify the vision.In navigating the warp speed of the Information Age, visionary leadership has never been more critical. Vision makes an organization distinct and is the rudder that keeps it on course. Vision is more about the “what” and the “why,” and less about the “how.” When the power of whatcan be done is realized, and there’s passion behind the why, it opens the world to possibilities that lead to the how. When Walt Disney was constructing Disney World, he had his crew build the castle first, knowing it would represent the vision and serve as motivation throughout the project.
- Harness the power of synergy.If people share a common purpose and a unifying vision, the team enjoys the multiplying impact of synergy. But synergy doesn’t happen on its own — goals must be well defined and team members inspired by a unified purpose. Synergy takes hold when individuals are willing to sacrifice some of their independence and most of the credit for the achievement of the whole.
- Summon courage.The courage to persevere through the inevitable obstacles and setbacks that stand between a vision’s conception and its realization is the hallmark of a great leader. Courage is the compass that leads beyond one’s own feelings or circumstances and towards a higher purpose. The courageous will still experience fear, but their ability to manage and direct that fear as they stay on course makes them an admirable and worthy leader.
This article appeared at YoungUpstarts