Sometimes what’s new and the change brought about by the new is difficult to see.
I’ve talked and written often about how today’s leaders lack the level of awareness of their predecessors. Couple that with an environment of chaos brought on by COVID and the election cycle that seems to have cycled indefinitely, and you have the perfect White Storm. It’s where all of the elements that independently create chaos and challenge, come together at a singular moment in time to create the new!
It’s even more difficult because so many of leadership’s fundamentals are unchanged. The only thing that really changes is the leadership style, which in turn affects their Personal Leadership Effectiveness. As time passes, the behaviors, actions, and practices of an effective leader tend to look familiar depending upon the type of leadership style they either prefer or default to in times of crisis.
However, what doesn’t look familiar are our workplaces. What has changed are the cultures of our workplaces. Things are different now then they were even just five years ago. Those cultures are dramatically new!
Technology has changed everything. Information is available immediately and on a 24-hour news cycle. Ideas move very far and very fast. Couple that with a workforce that’s constantly plugged in, the line between work time and personal time is blurred. In fact, a more accurate description would be that they’ve overlapping more than ever.
Even more significant is that the culture of our culture is undergoing more change than any of us have seen in our lifetime. The variety of cultures, genders, and nationalities that we’re all connected to has changed the professional and the personal environment.
Today the context of leadership is different. Today we have new demands.
- Today’s workforce demands more authenticity and transparency.
- Today’s workforce is thirsty for integrity.
- They want to trust and to be trusted by those in positions of leadership.
In short, they want the new.
So, what does the new look like?
- Leaders are expected to exhibit more heart and employ less heavy-handed power and authority.
- Leaders must lead with open minds, open hearts and an open vulnerability that implies empathy.
- Leaders must value collaboration over competition.
As I wrote last week about change having to start at the top, so leaders of today must raise their level of awareness beyond their position of authority and power. The new leadership of today starts from within.
Leadership, now more than ever, is about character and behavior. It encompasses personal awareness and personal mastery. When leaders understand themselves, then they’re better equipped to understand others. New leadership is leading so that those in your charge reap the benefits of who you are and who you’re becoming.
This inside out leadership is the new I’m talking about. It will make a difference not only to us but to our country.
More significantly, the world needs leaders to change, and so they must.