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Six future leadership trends

Holly welcomes guest blogger Monica Wells of BizDb-

Monica WellsDespite the fact that the last decade saw considerable investment made in executive training, a poll conducted by researchers from Harvard University showed that 70% of Americans consider leadership crisis a significant factor in the national economic decline. This is a very puzzling situation – on the one hand, we see a rising demand for leadership skills, on the other, many leadership development programs fail to deliver their promised results. What will be the future of leadership? Read on to learn about the most important future trends in leadership.

Flexibility and agility

A research study from the Institute of Leadership and Management suggests that the single most important feature of future leaders will be flexibility. ( In order to succeed in the future, mangers will need to become more agile, responsive and develop an ability to adapt to different needs generated by changing workplaces.

But that’s not the end of story. Those managers will also need to be open to cultural and technological changes that will impact the core of enterprise operations – their job will be to ensure that key management and leadership practices are adapted to the transforming context and carried out successfully.

Going global

Business globalization is no longer a mere idea, but a fact. The Global Leadership Forecast by a talent management consultancy DDI unveils that a growing concern is the idea of leadership across countries and cultures. “In an increasingly globalized world, it is still an issue for almost any size of organization,” says Simon Mitchell, UK general manager for DDI.(

Businesses will become aware that leaders who operate outside the home market or are part of a team that stretches across borders require a host of specific skills – from coping with ambiguity to having effective interactions or making decisions in unfamiliar environments. All those become increasingly challenging in globalized environments.

Increased demand for core competencies

The report published by the Institute of Leadership and Management unveils another important future leadership trend to be an increase of interest in core skills such as motivating direct reports, communication, setting goals and task delegation. (

The changing conditions are likely to affect the performance of those core tasks – managers will be operating with less time on their hands and in a much more complex working environment. In short, basic management tasks will become increasingly difficult to perform and managers might require additional training to help them adapt to new conditions.


A recent report from PWC suggests that next to agility and talent, one of the most important values in future leadership will be sustainability, understood in terms of demonstrating social responsibility by balancing achievable business results with a concern for the greater good. (

Sustainability is much more than environmental issues – focusing on sustainability, managers will be looking towards the long-term consequences of their decisions relating to the environment, but also to health and safety. Social responsibility will become embedded into business processes and managers will be increasingly responsible for delivering insights about how their decisions impact the workforce and business climate.

Collective leadership

Another strong trend for the future is collective leadership. It’s likely that in a few years we won’t see any heroic leaders anymore, but a brand new form of leadership that will perfectly match the requirements posed by new working environments, where adaptive challenges cannot be tackled by an individual, but a group of people.

Some organizations are already embracing this leadership style in driving innovation, which is understood as a process initiated by an entire social network. Once Millennials take hold of leadership positions, we’ll see collective leadership styles flourish all over the place – but this new approach will definitely require a radical transition in thinking.

Generational difference management

Finally, we should acknowledge a major generational transformation which is about to take place in the leadership sector – the arrival of Millennials on the global leadership scene. In the near future, companies will have to learn how to mitigate the generational differences, which are bound to arise once Millennials get hold of executive jobs. Companies will also have to develop a host of new strategies to make the most from the unique qualities of this generation.

Millennials are generally considered team-players and high achievers. They’re independent, but tend to follow rules. They’re confident, but they also trust authority. Technological innovation is their natural world. All this can be expected to impact their leadership styles.

The future of leadership

All in all, leadership is bound to change radically in the near future. With many leaders feeling unprepared for the economy around them, leadership development programs should flourish and strive to provide training aimed at developing skills for addressing problems arising from economy globalization and current leadership gaps.

We’ll surely see more management policies fostering sustainability and witness a transition from the autocratic, control-and-command management style to its democratic variety. When it comes to leadership of the future, we’ll finally see its human face employed as a growing factor in business success by many global brands.

The author of the article, Monica Wells, is a Team Leader at – a free UK company check platform including companies’ house filings. She believes in the potential of new technologies and the Internet to empower businesses and individuals.


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