Traditional leadership practices are becoming obsolete, as business moves forward into an era shaped by social media, climate concerns and vast demographical shifts. What society has learnt previously needs to be adapted to meet the current demands on leaders today and the new leaders coming forward need to prepare for an ever-changing business environment. We have selected five key challenges that will be at the forefront of boardroom discussions over the coming years and are worthy of consideration in your current planning.
- Diversity - Globalisation is increasing and the amount of skilled migrants we see coming through our office is phenomenal. Local organisations will become increasingly diverse and teams will be defined by a mix of cultures, nationalities and professional backgrounds. Leaders will need to have cultural agility to be able to attract, select and manage teams that are characterised by this diversity.
- Demographic Shifts – Similarly, our region has an aging population and demographic imbalances are rapidly emerging. Over the coming years this will lead to shrinking labour forces as well as skills shortages and finding top talent will become even more challenging. Leaders need to start thinking now about how this is going to impact their organisation. They will need to put procedures into place to retain young people as well as attract migrants, women and older people into leadership positions.
- Connecting with Customers - Social media is crafting a new era in business transparency and engagement and leaders need to be adept at using social media to forge new relationships with their customers. Transparency and honesty are favoured by customers today and the most popular brands in the social media space tend to focus more on “engaging” rather than “selling”. By letting your customers get to know the people and personality of your company, they feel more comfortable doing business with you and have increased faith in your product.
- Reputation management – Further to this, in an online age where people can communicate globally in seconds, senior management needs to understand the implications of social media on their brand and implement procedures for social media monitoring. The first step is to collaborate with your leaders to decide what you would like to track. Set up accounts with free social media monitoring tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention. You need to be in a position to respond quickly and never expect things to go away on their own. Blog posts and forum comments linger in search engine results forever.
- Climate and Sustainability - Climate change is transitioning towards a scarcity in strategic resources such as water, minerals and fossil fuels. As such, we are set to endure price hikes and increased operational costs. Organisations will be forced into reducing their eco-footprint and to develop systems and procedures that make themselves more sustainable. Leaders will be required to advocate environmentally responsible business practices and will be measured against this by their clients, customers and prospective employees.
Tomorrow’s leaders will need to be agile and adopt a completely new leadership style in order to meet the challenges facing them over the coming decades. We need to coach and develop these people moving forward, so that they are prepared with a broad range of skills and talents to face whatever challenges that come their way. So looking back over this article, how did your leaders rate?