This is not only being fuelled by the pace at which technology is merging the physical and digital worlds, demanding more and more functionality from the same biological constructs, people, but it’s also being driven by the rapidly changing and constantly shifting socioeconomic conditions that bring daily influence to bear on organisations and by association us as people.
It’s tough enough rowing in a small boat in this perfect storm with no real sign of land. Imagine being in charge of the flotilla, morally and contractually obliged to steer a course through without losing anyone and emerging ready for the next set of challenges.
If you’re reading this blog, then I suspect you don’t need to imagine. It’s most likely your daily lived reality and we know, because our team has either spent significant time in-house helping to steer as internal change agents or they have been coaching and partnering on leadership programmes as external consultants. We see and hear what leaders across sectors are going through and it’s a time of huge demand and challenge, yet also full of opportunity.
Lewin famously speaks of unfreezing and then re- freezing corporate cultures to ensure that behaviour change sticks. Well, it’s especially tough when the water’s this salty and raging. So leadership skills are evolving. It may be tough to look ahead and through the storm clouds. But that’s part of the job, to remain future fit while doing the day job based on known paradigms…then being prepared to evolve them. That’s how we ensure the organisations, people and communities that we serve remain future fit and ready to sail through whatever conditions might be coming up next.
One of the ways in which we’re trying to help, as leadership coaches, is to keep stock of the forces at play and reflecting on the top leadership qualities required to meet the challenges of the time. We do this partly through critically exploring the hundreds of leadership coaching sessions we have across sectors at the highest of levels, every year. But also by reviewing what some of the more respected consultancy and other thinking houses suggest are future fit leadership traits.
This year, post lockdowns, leading into the current financial, identity, governance, establishment, and environmental influenced epoch, we suggest the following ten critical future fit leadership traits stand out as essential:
- Human, empathic and authentic
- Ethical and sustainable behaviour
- Inclusive coaching style
- Influencing skills
- Listening and adapting
- Evidence and data driven
- Handles complexity well
- Visionary, strategic and commercial focus
- Maintains focus regardless
Interestingly, in our research, maintaining focus was ranked just above visionary and strategic, a reflection of how the best leaders, through times that have uniquely tested everyone at once, have thrived rather than simply survived. And the teams that have been the most resilient have been working for leaders who have clear, balanced, inspirational goals with short as well as longer term deliverables. These leaders have been able to not only ensure the wellbeing of their colleagues in the face of immediate risk but have also taken advantage of down time and confusion to look to the longer term, post crisis and offer hope, purpose, opportunity, and a mission the other side of uncertainty.
There’s certainly some food for thought here for you and your HR teams especially to reflect upon as we enter the last few days of 2022.
We will be repeating this exercise annually and revealing the revised Future Focused Leadership Traits poll around the same time next year when we’re hoping to co-deliver a workshop, as part of our series of live sessions, with academics from a leading University. So watch this space and please circulate this blog to any colleagues and contacts who may be interested.In the meantime, if you have any thoughts, reflections or questions about this or any of our core topics, do drop us a line or get yourself onto our Newsletter mailing list. We publish thought pieces and case studies monthly and will be happy to welcome you to the Mosaic community.