Future Leadership model

My thinking for 2012 is very much focused on ‘future leadership’ trends. Of course there are some aspects of leadership that remain just as important. But I’m particularly interested in what I see as the emerging patterns, weak signals and new expectations. The following themes seem to be dominant:

The areas that have changed or intensified can be identified in the diagram below. This is an iterative model – it will change and morph, but essentially now guides my work and the work of Think Beyond.

I’ve written a quick explanation of each of the parts of the model and linked it to a recent YouTube video from IBM. The video is a great collation of some of the best leadership thinking from around the world.  So here goes…

Ethical Leadership

Not new…yet it’s lack has led to a number of large companies cheating, snooping and damaging relationships as never before. And the ripples have been felt throughout the world. Ethical leadership focuses on the greater good and on growing relationships through modelling, trustworthy behaviour and listening to the needs of others. Video quote: “Heroic leadership is becoming increasingly archaic.”

Self regulated leadership

Key components include mindfulness; understanding of self and our effect on others; and managing our own time and priorities. In an information rich world it is easy to be overwhelmed, or in Clay Shirky’s terminology, experience “filter failure”.  Video quote: “Technology cannot make our choices for us.”

Contextual leadership

Leadership has become more complex as we interact across generations and cultures. Our workforces are more diverse than ever before. There is a growing demand for culturally intelligent employees and a greater need for intergenerational understanding. Video quote: “Younger and younger leaders are emerging and will run the corporation.”

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership focuses on the complexity of leadership, where there are often multiple solutions; and where the problem may not even be clear. This demands leaders who are more flexible, can manage polarity, think creatively and take intelligent risks. Video quote: “We have become risk averse. If the phone was invented now we wouldn’t be allowed to use it because of the fear that information was going outside the company – people might say whatever they want and you wouldn’t be able to control it!”

Networked Leadership

This is the most dynamic parts of the future leadership model.  Collaboration, influence and personal learning networks have been strengthened with the growth of technology. Being networked is also about exploring new ideas, looking outside your own circles of understanding, and looking for the trends. Video quote from Thoma Friedman, “When I first wrote The World is Flat, facebook, twitter, the cloud and linkedin were not on the radar.”

Take a look at the video yourself and reflect on the five aspects of future leadership mentioned. What questions do you have? Future blogposts will explore this model and its parts in more detail. Your comments will help guide my thinking…


2 comments on “Future Leadership model
  1. Thanks DK. I think that strategy and action are both really important. At the end of the day, if nothing is happening there is not much point. In following all the studies and social media re leadership for the future these five areas seem to be where there is a greater need for exploring what actions might be different. One example is the increasing diversity of cultures in the workplace, schools and society. We can ignore the differences and treat everyone the same. We can go to an overseas leadership position and expect everyone to think like us. Or we can explore how we can be more culturally intelligent so that our actions lead to more powerful connections that are more sustainable and satisfying. It involves awareness of our own leadership thinking and how we can develop our competencies. I do want to develop these ideas into practical applications and actions so keep pushing me to be ‘real’.

  2. for me leadership is a simple model focussed on action (not strategy) – of course there is thought behind this and what you’ve detailed certainly helps to frame it… the power lies in doing stuff (and/or inspiring folks to fulfil the wider call to arms).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *