We are facing a leadership crisis today.
The world of work is changing, which means we need a different type of leader to guide our people and organizations to success.
The old ways won’t work anymore.
In my newest book, The Future Leader, I interviewed over 140 CEOs from around the world to get their view of how leadership is changing, what it’s going to look like in the future, and what we need to do now to be future ready leaders.
One thing was clear in all of their responses, what has worked in the past will not work in the future. We need a new kind of leader. Leadership can no longer be based solely on confidence, seniority, the ability to make money for the company, acting like you know it all, etc..
Another thing that I found in my research for the book was the lack of leadership training inside of organizations. Most people become leaders in their mid to late 20s, but most leaders have admitted that they didn’t receive formal training until they were in their late 30s and early 40s.
That means there is a period of 15-20 years where leaders inside of our organizations are leading, but they haven’t been taught how to do it effectively. No wonder we have such a lack of strong leadership.
But just because you don’t receive formal training inside of your organization doesn’t give you a free pass to be an ineffective leader. You can take training into your own hands. You have the ability to learn what you need to know to be the best leader you can be.
Become a Future-Ready Leader
Learn the 9 skills & mindsets 140 CEOs say are MOST crucial!
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The first step is answering a tough question
If you are ready to be a future ready leader, the first step you need to take is to define leader and leadership for yourself. What does it really mean to be a leader? It may seem like a simple question, but it is actually the hardest question for the 140+ CEOs I interviewed to answer.
We see leaders in action every single day, whether they are good or bad. It is something so common, that we don’t tend to spend time defining leadership, because we assume everyone knows what it is. It’s like water. You wouldn’t explain water to someone, because we all just know what water is.
But defining leader and leadership is such an important step. Without a definition we get inconsistency inside of our organizations. Most organizations have some great leaders that people love and some horrible leaders that people can’t stand. That wouldn’t happen if we had a clear definition of leadership. It would help put filters in place that help the right people get promoted to leadership positions.
If you want great leaders, start by defining what a great leader is. And use that definition to promote people inside of your organization.
The Notable Nine
From the interviews that I did with the 140+ CEOs I ended up with four mindsets and five skills that leaders need to adopt in order to succeed in the future of work. They are:
- Explorer: Become a perpetual learner, be curious and focus on agility and adaptability
- Chef: Learn how to balance humanity and technology
- Servant: Serve your leaders, your team, your customers and yourself by being humble and vulnerable
- Global Citizen: Surround yourself with different people and look at the big picture
- Futurist: Look towards the future and think through different scenarios
- Yoda: Practice emotional intelligence and empathy
- Translator: Develop listening and communication skills
- Coach: Motivate and engage others and create effective teams across geographies and generations
- Technology Teenager: Embrace new technology and be tech-savvy
This episode of Future of Work is supported by Teamistry, a podcast that tells the stories of teams who work together in new and unexpected ways… to beat the odds.
Each episode tells a unique story and provides practical lessons for your team and your business. I got a sneak peek of season 2 and was immediately sucked in with its documentary-style narration, details about stories I thought I knew but didn’t, and practical lessons that I was able to apply to my business. Check it out at here.
Leaders must be like lighthouses
On the cover of my book is the image of a lighthouse. And I think it is such a great visualization of what a leader should be. A lighthouse is designed to help mariners and explorers reach their destinations, but in a safe way. It helps travelers keep out of shallow waters, off of the rocks, and away from danger. And I think of leaders in very much the same way.
The whole purpose of a leader is to guide their people and organizations to success, but in a safe way. With the nine skills and mindsets leaders can build themselves up to be a lighthouse so that they can shine a bright light onto the sea of uncertainty that we’re all a part of.
But one thing a lot of leaders forget is that if there are no ships in the water, then a lighthouse is useless. Without great people to lead, a leader is pointless. Leaders can’t just focus on building themselves up, they must also focus on the success of their people.
If you enjoyed the article and want more content like this here’s what you can do:
- Subscribe to The Future of Work Podcast where I interview business leaders around the world each week.
- Grab a copy of The Future Leader which has been endorsed by the CEOs of MasterCard, Best Buy, Oracle, Audi, Unilever, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz Carlton, Kaiser, and Marshall Goldsmith. It explores the most essential skills and mindsets for future leaders.
- If you are or want to be an entrepreneur then my wife and I just launched a brand new podcast on how to Be Your Own Boss, called the BYOB Podcast where we share what we did and how we did it. You can subscribe to that here.