Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Do you want to be a successful leader in the era of disruption? Remember it is talent not technology that will give your organisation the competitive advantage.
“When someone acquires power, it’s not that they adapt and change—it actually reveals who they really are. There are very few boundaries that you can’t just step over, so all you have is your own moral compass. That can be very liberating, but that can also be very dangerous.”
This week I attended a fascinating seminar with Bernard Salt entitled Future of Work. It was apparent during the seminar that it is talent not just technology that will give your organisation the competitive edge in the future. Successful entrepreneurs according to Bernard Salt will be the future of our economy. Not only does the new entrepreneur need to merge business and technology and disrupt the market, they need the perfect innovative idea, to be quick to market, to continually disrupt, be ahead of the competition and be financially successful. History has demonstrated that the most successful entrepreneurs are extraordinary leaders, everyone wants to work for them, and be a part of their vision and success. Yet the old models of leadership do not fit the age of disruption… new leadership meta skills are required. The world of work is changing: Flat structures are in, design thinking is encouraged, safe to fail ‘experiments’ are the norm. Employee diversity encompasses professional expertise, problem-solving approaches, culture, age and gender. Organisational loyalty and trust are determined by purpose, governance and ethics, not years of service. There is much ambiguity, complexity, uncertainty and volatility, in all aspects of work. The complexity of the leadership challenge has never been greater, inspiring employees to be creative, motivated and commercial in an ever-changing environment requires a new approach to leadership. Remember if you’re really serious about being a successful entrepreneur remember your most important resource is your people. The future of work will require leaders to be adept at combining interpersonal, technical and strategic skills. According to Dr Tasha Eurich, self-awareness is the meta skill of the 21st century, as it encompasses how our values, behaviour, emotions, and habits impact on others and on how others see us. She argues that self-awareness is the foundation of all interpersonal skills. In my opinion, improving self-awareness, and related interpersonal skills will enhance a leaders' ability to:
Create a culture of creativity and innovation
Influence and negotiate with diverse stakeholders
Ensure values, ethics and purpose are at the forefront of all commercial decisions
Encourage robust debate and avoid group think
Employ the principles of Radical Candour to enable respectful, yet useful and timely feedback
Attract and retain high performing talent
Thrive under pressure
Enable continual learning
Most importantly, self-awareness should enable leaders to be energised by the challenges of their work. Last week I finished a coaching assignment with a senior executive in the tourism sector, his organisation is undergoing much change and due to a restructure, he has lost his “seat” at the executive table. Part of the coaching involved a re-exploration of his career and organisational goals, with a focus on his values, and optimism how they played out in his leadership behaviour in the workplace. At the conclusion of the coaching program I asked him to provide me with feedback on the coaching experience. “I thought the coaching would be all about emotional support but in contrast I am excited by the opportunities I can see in the firm as we continue to grow.. I may not have a seat on the executive, but I can be the CEO of a large business unit that my team creates” . Despite the pressures and changes in the firm, his team are on track to exceed their financial goals for Q1 2019. I look forward to catching up with him in 6 months to see how else he and his team have benefited from his increased internal and external self-awareness. Consider what practical steps you can take to begin to improve your self awareness.
Eurich, Dr T. (2017) Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World.
Bernard Salt and Simon Kuestenmacher (2019) The future of work, breakfast seminar. The Demographics group.