Leadership in 2020. Is it time for a paradigm shift?

Business / Leadership / Mental Health

Leadership in 2020. Is it time for a paradigm shift?

2020 will be the year the world changed. Everything we held as a belief is under question, from the way we live to the way we work and interact with society at large. This article looks at the potential changes to leadership after the events of 2020, and how that may impact on us all. 

The events of 2020 have presented a particular challenge for national and industrial leaders alike. Those leaders who have been successful are the ones who have accepted the need to adopt a new approach in the face of an unprecedented global crisis.

Traditional leadership paradigms prevalent in Western society have developed from the military, particularly the Command and Control concept as defined by the US navy’s Fundamentals of Naval Leadership as:

“…the art, science or gift by which a person is enabled and privileged to direct the thoughts, plans and actions of others in such a manner as to obtain and command their obedience, their confidence, their respect and their loyal cooperation.”

Leading with courage

The leaders who will emerge victorious after 2020 are those who have been courageous enough to accept that a new way of working is required; those who recognise that the Command and Control approach to leadership no longer works; and those who are humble enough to recognise they will not succeed on their own just because of their title.

When one looks at the leaders of corporations, the importance of change in leadership style cannot be underestimated. Moreover success and sustainability of an organisation is very much dependent on its leadership style.

Organisational culture

Leadership behaviour and culture are the most significant factors impacting organisational performance. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, labelled corporate culture as “the lasting sustainable competitive advantage”.

  • Leadership behaviour creates 50 to 70 per cent of an organisation’s culture.
  • Organisational culture impacts approximately 35 per cent of a business’s performance.

For organisations to remain both relevant and sustainable, leadership will need to change. To be effective, leaders will need to demonstrate the following traits:

  • Respect – understanding that every member of the team is key
  • Affiliation – willingness to support every member of the team
  • Empathy – able to support team members during times of doubt
  • Integrity – willingness to address every challenge openly
  • Honesty – recognising that everyone is a valued part of the team

Most importantly, given the influence of traditional leadership models that are still espoused as the preferred way of leading, anybody aspiring to lead differently will need to be:

  • Courageous – to go outside their comfort zone and rethink deeply held beliefs
  • Humble – to recognise that they are not perfect and to seek support for change
  • Self-disciplined – to ensure that they enact plans as agreed

As society returns to work it is clear that the workplace they are returning to will not be the same one they left behind. Remaining blinkered about this seismic shift in organisational culture as a result of remote working is not an option.

This change will affect everyone, and the leader will be vital in ensuring that the organisation moves from survival mode back to one of sustainable growth.

How will you choose to lead?

In conclusion, there will be choices for each leader. Will you continue with the Command and Control approach, or are you ready to embrace a new, braver leadership style for the good of your people and your organisation?

Developing an organisational culture where employees feel that they are in safe and secure employment will be essential. Therefore leaders must treat everyone as an individual, with respect and empathy.

Easy changes to make, but will it be easy for a new paradigm to be established?

Be exceptional

If you’re ready to consider a new way of leading to ensure the long-term survival of your business and the health and happiness of your people, then join us for a free webinar on how to lead beyond 2020. Find out more here.

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