3 ways old world leadership needs to change
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3 ways old world leadership needs to change

The new world of work requires a new style of leadership.

The hierarchical, decisive style of years gone by is on the way out. Now, modern leaders are having to adopt a more collaborative and agile approach. 

Here are 3 vital ways old world leaders will have to adjust to the new world of work.

1. Hierarchies will need to be dismantled

Old world leadership was defined by, among other things, a top-down structure. The big boss in the big office led the organisation by doling out orders and the workers carried them out. Information-sharing, development-modelling and decision-making were ultimately carried out a limited number of people.

But today, people everywhere in an organisation are itching to lead regardless of their seniority or job title in an organisation. Newer generations are more expectant. Leaders need to give them the opportunity first, then allow them to prove their worth. All employees at all levels in the organisation need to be informed, enabled and empowered to achieve company goals. 

2. A new approach to career planning will have to be adopted

In years gone by, career trajectories that just went straight up, title to title, were commonplace. But today, offering promotions-based career paths to your people isn’t enough. Leaders need to offer people exciting new skills and experiences on the job.

Our own research found that younger generations value new experiences in their career highly – 41 per cent of people aged 16-34 thought it was important to gain broader experience in their current role. It used to be a matter of “I want this job and title and then I want that job and title”. Now it’s a matter of “I want this experience and then I want this one.”

How exactly do you do this? 

Firstly, you need to know your talent at every level and understand their aspirations and potential. Secondly, you need to ensure line managers have the capability to coach and support. And finally, you need to look at mentoring and even reverse mentoring. It’s an opportunity to share experiences and work in a partnership towards development – not just have someone from another generation tell someone what their career should look like.

3. Data and collaboration will need to inform decisions

Old world leadership was all about autonomous decision-making. Our research found a common strength among baby boomers is their traditional leadership skills. They’re more decisive, motivating, strategic and persuasive than Generation X and Millennial workers. 

But a new world leader’s approach to challenges and solutions is much different. Rather than rely on their gut instinct, their skill in persuading those around them, or their ability to make tough decisions all by themselves, they’ll collaborate with others. They’ll actively engage the team around them to design a solution. They’ll use data to evaluate their options and inform their decision. 

Successful leaders of any organisation in the new world of work will have to break free from the habits of old world leadership in this regard. They’ll have to be open to not only bringing others into the decision-making process, but also relying on data rather than instinct or experience. Instead of firefighting by focusing on symptoms, they’ll need to actively seek new ways of creating solutions. 

Find out more about leadership in the new world of work here:  

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