A few weeks ago, I posted about leadership in the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world. This landscape cries out for new ways of operating and behaving if leaders strive to be effective and achieve results. It demands a different type of leader.

One that is malleable and agile in their thinking. Not to say they must be swapping and changing good practice and commitments on a whim, but to allow for the certainty of variation and indistinctness of the obstacles they may face daily. 

This will be a leader that can put their own model of the world aside to work with that of their team, collectively and individually. 

The ‘star’ leader that is the smartest in the room and everyone listens to and never disagrees with and that micro manages their team, is a thing of the past and will not survive the VUCA world for long.

Various trends in organisations has influenced this requirement.

We are seeing flatter structures in organisations due to cost curbing and increased flexibility. Leaders will, as a consequence, have wider spans of control since they will have larger and more diverse teams.

Expertise and knowledge will be dispersed and ensuring co-creation and collaboration will be key. This feeds into the leader having very different behavioural skills. 

Learning agility will be a requirement for the leader and their team. The continues improvements in technology and systems will demand upskilling as a cycle of learn, unlearn and relearn.

Self-awareness and empowerment of others will be key skills.

Leaders will need to evaluate their behaviour and become reflective and introspective. All leaders have gaps in their skill levels and it’s the humble ones prepared to be vulnerable looking within, that will be adaptable and be able to make the necessary adjustments and finding their true potential.

This is a new identity for leaders and one that can be confusing. It is not something that can be trained through a leadership development course, although many now have behavioural elements and emotional intelligence modules. 

A one size fits all learning approach will not suffice for this dynamic. It requires more individualised learning with introspection and reflection. Emotionally aware leaders will develop from having a people centric approach and a focus on ‘soft skills’ will be the dominant factor.

The new face of leadership will serve employees in a more prolific manner, creating empowerment and truly embody a humanising approach in the workplace.