Leaders will have recognised the strong relationship between culture and performance and the difference that can be made by nurturing respect and kindness in the workplace. These behaviours will become increasingly treated as important KPIs in the operational execution of a business plan.
Successful leaders will have learned how to lead remotely and have a blend of skills with the ability to combine high empathy with a strong results orientation. They will fully embrace diversity and be great listeners with the authenticity to build high levels of trust. They will have in-built respect for both people and the planet, ensuring their company remains highly agile and willing to constantly reinvent itself.
Great leaders will understand the power of data but also be able to make decisions quickly from simple insights.
A personal investment in self-awareness and a commitment to being the best they can be will be core traits. Long gone will be the dictatorial, command and control leader of the past who lacked empathy and only worked to their own agenda. This type of leader will have been driven to extinction by the new generations in the workplace who have refused to be led by fear and who demand so much more from their working lives and employers.
Good leaders will be in tune with global events and trends and always be ‘looking around the corner’ to predict future trends, threats and opportunities. They will always be examining external events and factors that could inform their business, while simultaneously prioritising employee well-being. The phrase “best practice and talent does not necessarily sit within our four walls” springs to mind.
Every employee needs to understand the purpose of the organisation and the important contribution their role makes, and a good leader will make this a priority. Good leaders will have successfully met the corporate sustainability targets that have accompanied the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaged their organisation in a new set of goals.
As business threats and talent emerge from less predictable sources, today’s leader will have to operate with a 360-degree antenna and open mind to every possibility.
In summary, the great leader of 2030 will have the ability to ‘connect and inspire people’ of every generation, gender and background. They will have successfully found a way to deal with the mega trends that have affected the workplace over the previous ten years including Generational Impact, Digital Acceleration, Climate Change, Globalisation, Humanisation, and Big Data.
For leaders to grow multi-dimensionally as outlined above, they will need to demonstrate they are ‘forever learning’, to invest the necessary time in self-development and to ensure this mindset is deep in the culture of the whole organisation.
We have every reason to look at the future of work with a high degree of optimism. The next ten years will be an era of enlightenment where social and human well-being learns to successfully combine with the world of business. The working world will have learned the true meaning of embracing diversity and the power of human potential. It will have learned how to treat everyone with the respect they deserve.
A new, more compassionate leader will emerge who cares about all stakeholders and, most importantly, the health and happiness of employees.
The working world of 2030 will make everyone feel valued, give people the opportunity to blend the priorities they have in life and create the platform to explore their dreams. What more could we wish for?