“You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
“Change” is a great blessing that brings in “new opportunities” and “Leadership” is a privilege to “make this changing world a better place”!
The challenge for every leader is to understand when and what change or disruption is coming and to develop and support their people to embrace those changes and proactively improvize on methods and approach to work. What are some of those attributes that leaders need to hone in the present and for the future?
- ‘Curiosity’ – A child-like curiosity to know more about things, question, and probe to understand deeper and to anticipate what may occur helps people discover and explore various paths. It is important to have dialogues and conversations with stakeholders. Meaningful conversations fosters collaboration, helps build new perspectives and brings teams closer. Networking helps to make connections and generate enthusiasm, develop better engagement, learning new things, and as a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. The most important fact about curiosity for leadership is that it helps to understand others better and removes the biases. It helps to understand the context and enables trust building.
- ‘Creativity and Innovation’ is needed to thrive in these changing scenarios. Creativity and Innovation go hand in hand. Without creativity, innovation is not possible and to innovate, creativity is the key ingredient. Leaders who are creative are able to view problems from various angles whereby they are able to drive productivity and also foster success of projects within the organizations. Building a culture of creativity also helps in exploring new avenues, inspires people to follow the passions and helps unlock potential.
- ‘Resilience’ to build a workforce within the uncertainties and ambiguities. Leaders who practice resilience are able to maintain a positive attitude and sustain their energy levels under pressure. They are able to bounce back during periods of turbulence. They have the ability to find ways to move forward and avoid getting stuck. They are able to articulate effectively on what needs to be done to others. Most importantly, resilient leaders have the ability to create strong teams by developing positive relationships built on the foundation of trust.
- 'Bold Risk Taking and Decision Making' are another two attributes leaders have to focus on. Uncertainty brings a lot of apprehensions and these apprehensions or fear keeps people from taking the very actions that will enable them to excel in the longer term. To be able to take that leap of faith leaders should have the willingness to act amid uncertainties.
- ‘Thought Leadership’ is another important skill to be developed during uncertain times. It helps leaders to understand the present and imagine the future, create meaning to build game-changing customer experiences, influence people around in a positive manner, provide guidance and inspire innovation. It allows leaders to build reputation and credibility and also to learn more about the industries they work with.
- ‘Digital capabilities’ is a driving factor in this digital age. Being adept with digital capabilities enables leaders to focus on innovation culture and foster end-to-end collaboration. Developing digital capabilities enables leaders to standardize and automate processes to generate new insights which can be leveraged. This attribute helps leaders to drive changes in the organization, challenges cultural barriers that get in the way of the transformation efforts. They are able to engage people to think in creative and innovative ways. Being digitally capable also helps leaders to think differently, focusing on situations holistically and seek to find better possibilities.
- ‘Empathy’ is another great skill which every leader needs to practice. While this skill enables leaders to understand people better and respond in the best manner possible, it also encourages to understand the root cause of poor performance or why people are struggling in specific areas. This helps in guiding people to improve and excel. Leaders are able to develop relationships with all stakeholders when they are empathetic.
- ‘Learning Agility’ helps leaders to explore and learn from unfamiliar experiences and apply those learnings to new environments. In the era of flux, past performances do not guarantee success of positive future outcomes. Leaders who have a high learning agility are known to be proactively seeking for feedback, discovering various patterns within unfamiliar situations, and actively seeking out to resolve the new challenges.
In this uncertain world, as leaders, the greatest value comes when we accept that we do not know the answer to all the questions. The willingness to accept it as a challenge, to seek and explore ways to address those challenges and developing the various skill sets to respond will enable today’s leaders to navigate through current and future times.
"Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential." ~ Winston Churchill