Globalization, shifting generations of workers, increased technology and shorter corporate lifespans loom on the workplace horizon. Tomorrow’s leaders will have to deal with the challenges unseen by previous generations. How can you help potential leaders to develop the essential skills they will need to assist others to negotiate their way to success in such changing times?
Based on the challenges that are evolving, tomorrow’s leader will need these top five leadership skills:
They must be capable of dealing with a culturally diverse workplace. Widespread immigration, often prompted by countries taking in large numbers of refugees, coupled with heightened global expansion, is changing the cultural face and voice of most industries. The future leader must find ways to ensure that a divergent workforce is able to function with respect and openness.
This trend has many positive benefits in the sense that it builds and openness to new ideas and guards against “groupthink” where people who were all alike tended to think alike. But it can also become a conflicted workplace when leadership does not encourage the smooth integration of different genders, races and cultures.
Tomorrow’s leader needs to create a culture where workers from all different backgrounds work in cultural safety and teams where workers from a variety of different backgrounds can find a commonality of ideas.
They must be able to motivate workers they may never meet. The growing trend for companies to hire large workforces who work within their own homes or in remote offices away from the central headquarters is continuing at a rapid pace. This presents a host of leadership challenges when it comes to motivating workers, building teams of workers, and maintaining quality control over work.
They must be open and adaptable to new technology. If leading teams of remote workers is not difficult enough, tomorrow’s leader will also have to integrate a high degree of robotics into their workforce, and create an effective means for people and robotic staff to work together. Determining the ways to communicate with both human and robotic staff effectively will challenge even the most agile of leaders.
One aspect of this challenge will also include changing the way work is done and stored. Within five years, it is estimated that about a third of corporate data will be stored or be transferred to workers through the cloud.
Learning to lead strategies to manage the rapid-fire flow of information will be a daunting challenge for the near future.
They must find new ways to train massive numbers of workers. Utilizing e-learning and mobile learning techniques will be vital as the number of skilled knowledge workers falls short of meeting the demand. Especially in the industries linked to science and technology, mathematics and engineering, leaders will have to be innovative in determining how to ensure that staff members keep up with the pace of change.
There will simply not be enough workers with the exact skill needed to fill every post. Companies will be held back if they cannot maintain optimal training methods for new technologies.
The leader of the future must work for more than a profitable quarter. As the lifespan of most organizations decrease from today’s average of 45 years to about 10, leaders will find that decisions they make will only be effective if they look past the profits for any one quarter and devise sustainable strategies for the long-term.
Leaders will have to exhibit a high degree of social responsibility than in past generations.
As you can see, being a leader in today’s workplace is no easy task, but possessing these skills will make you a more effective and impactful leader in whatever work you do.