Leadership skills: Now and for the future

We came to the end of our 'Leadership in Focus' series at WOB this week. The public interface of our highly successful Next Generation of Corporate Female Leaders program, the series gives voice to the reports and presentations on leadership that each syndicate is required to produce.
As always, it was uplifting and inspiring to see how the program graduates had embraced the opportunity to go out and connect with leaders across many sectors, synthesise their views and pull out key concepts in their reports and presentations. 

The titles of the reports reflect the diverse way in which each syndicate approached the topic of leadership:
  • Leadershiop in a VUCA world
  • Taste of modern leadership
  • Leadership in the age of megatrends
  • The role of purpose, values and systems in leadership
  • The transferability of leadership skills
  • Leadership of today
  • The time for women to shine is now
Common themes emerging from the 150+ leaders interviewed were around disruption, uncertainty and change and how they and their organisations were responding and adapting to this new world order. The real question remains as to whether organisations are in a position to shift not just their operations and business models, but their entire approach to people and culture.

I was further reminded of this when giving an address to the executive women's group from Universities Australia. While liking to be seen to be at the cutting edge when it comes to education for the future, partnerships for change and development of new inventions & business innovations, the structures and systems underpinning universities remain rooted in the 19th and 20th Centuries. So does much of the leadership which is largely based on the hierarchical command and control model.

What does this mean for engagement with generation Z, born after 2000 and now emerging into our universities and workplaces? For this generation and the Millennials before them, one might argue that good leaders will be those who operate in a more wholistic, authentic and collectivist way. Which is why in the Next Gen program we focus equally on HOW the program participants are going to exercise their leadership when they are in these roles. Through our partnership with Presence at Work, a collective leadership development consultancy, we work with the program participants on how to share power and co-lead. To collaborate and not be the hero on the rock. 

From what I have seen in the Leadership in Focus series and during the program year, our Next Gen graduates will be very well placed to lead in the uncertain new world of work. If a recent report published by the Foundation for Young Australians is any indication, this will see a radical reshape of how we view jobs - classifying close to 1,000 potential occupations in seven job clusters. The report, The New Work Mindset ,while written for future job seekers, is a must read for all job and organisation leaders as it will create challenges we have not yet conceived when it comes to leading for 2020 and beyond.

Applications for the Next Generation of Corporate Leaders program close 9 December 2016. 

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