The Future of Leadership: 2020 and Beyond




  • The world is changing at a much faster pace than before. Whereas before, one could be content with finding a winning formula and stretching it out for decades while making a nice profit, in today’s world, many tried and tested formulae are swiftly becoming outdated.

    Technology has become the great equalizer and as such, the great disruptor. I am sure we all know many examples of companies failing to evolve at the same pace that the world set for them. Some of these companies even find themselves to be outdated before ever properly hitting the market.

    Leaders must continually plan for the future as best as they can, because 2020 is but a quarter away. Today’s management needs to be aware of the challenges their organization and workforce will face now, as well as the challenges they will be facing a year or two down the road.

    Employers and employees everywhere, consider the following 5 things moving forward into 2020 and beyond:

    1. The Nature of The Workforce Is About to Change Again.

    Leaders must be able to manage a whole different generation of employees as Generation Z begins to step into the corporate world. Remote working and flexible hours are becoming more and more of the norm and with such freedom, comes the pressure of being able to maintain such a multitude of workforce types.

    Leaders cannot continue to keep an eye on their employees all the time, instead focus on creating self-accountability as the standard across the organization.

    Tasks need to be assigned appropriately, channels of communication need to be established and revisited periodically.

    For employees, the keyword moving forward is “ownership”. Employees, too, MUST trust their organization as if it was their own.

    They need to have a vested interest in its success, and leaders need to inspire this in each and every employee.

    2. Leaders Must Encourage Technology Savviness.

    I’ve seen many resumes across my table that mention Microsoft Office as a skill set. What still surprises me is that today, this should be a given, even if it’s not mentioned.

    Organizations today need to encourage a base level of technological savviness in all their employees.

    This does not mean letting go of methods that might seem old and archaic, and only embracing technology. I still prefer writing down notes by pen and exchanging business cards.

    I mean that organizations need to identify that technology needs to be integrated into the core of their work culture. Slack, Discord, Teams, Asana, Hangouts are just some random examples of software that every employee needs to be accustomed to should the occasion arise.

    3. Become Comfortable with Chaos.

    In continuation with my previous point, with such fast advancements in technology often comes confusion and disarray.

    Leaders need to understand that uncertainty about the future that is still yet unknown is something that they, along with their employees need to be comfortable with.

    Just Google the latest trends and it won’t take long for someone to start worrying.

    Nothing is set in stone anymore, nothing is truly certain. Someone somewhere is working on something that disrupts the market at any given point of the day.

    That is the new reality, that is the new benchmark, that is the new now.

    The way to counter that is becoming aware of it and knowing that this is part and parcel of the new world, especially post 2020.

    4. Look Beyond, Constantly.

    One thing leaders need to encourage in employees, as well as in themselves, is to learn to look past today.

    Granted, today is the most important day, but that doesn’t mean new idea and solutions can’t be entertained. By encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for something that the organization hasn’t come up with yet, which might fall into the scope of the organizational offering/s they serve.

    This is a major differentiating factor. However, that can only come hand in hand with point number 3.

    An employee can only look beyond the scope of today by being aware of new trends and happenings in the world.

    Only then can something click that might be a game changer.

    Having a culture of looking beyond constantly is a major asset, one that is lost on companies in the need to perfect the day each day.

    5. Continuous Learning Is A Pre-Requisite, Not Just A Competitive Edge.

    It is not enough anymore that an employee comes to work, does what they do and go home. Instead, they need to be learning about the current trends, the future forecasts and what are the skillsets that they would need to make sure they are continuing to be an asset for not just the organization, but for society as a whole.

    Great leaders MUST encourage learning as an integral part of the organization.

    The half-life of learning is continuously being shortened. What I knew 5 years ago, does not apply anymore.

    Instead I need to keep learning new things, to not just keep up, but also look beyond the current year. This needs to be the norm. Organizations need to invest in learning for the employees at a greater extent than ever before.

    The workplace is will constantly continue to evolve. No one can plan for the future, but it serves us best to always be on the lookout for anything that can provide our organizations with a competitive edge.

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    Author: Paul Keijzer

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