Just because your colleagues in the future workplace will include artificial intelligence and bots, doesn’t mean that human leadership skills won’t be necessary. In fact, leadership skills will be vital to success. Tomorrow’s fast-moving, interconnected and technology-driven world will require leaders to adapt to the new realities of the 4th industrial revolution in order to succeed. While some individuals are born with innate leadership abilities, the leadership skills of the future workplace can also be learned by individuals with a passion for doing so.
14 Leadership Skills of the Future Workplace
Due to the speed of change in the future workplace, leaders will have to agile and able to embrace and celebrate change. Successful leaders during the 4th industrial revolution will see change not as a burden but as an opportunity to grow and innovate.
Just as employees will need a healthy amount of emotional intelligence, it will be critical for leaders in the future workplace to be able to perceive, understand and manage emotions—theirs and their team’s.
Tomorrow’s leaders will need to find a balance between confidence in their own abilities and decisions, and being humble about their place in the organisation. Future leaders will take all the unique skills of the team working together to drive initiatives and leaders won’t be viewed as the critical cog to success. Tomorrow’s leaders will encourage others to shine.
Leaders will need to earn the respect of their team by holding themselves accountable. The workplace of the future will become more transparent and collaborative. In this environment, it’s crucial for a leader’s actions to be in alignment with the company’s goals and objectives.
In any organisation there are multiple stakeholders and a future leader will need a big-picture vision and be able to understand how each stakeholder, whether it's employees, suppliers, shareholders or another, will be impacted by decisions. This requires a leader to strategically determine how to meet all stakeholders' needs effectively.
There won’t be a clear roadmap to follow in the workplace of the future. This requires a leader to have the courage to face the unknown and navigate difficult circumstances. Possibly even more essential is the courage to change course in the event the situation calls for a new strategy.
Leaders will need flexibility in the future to accommodate the shifting demands of workers, workspaces, and tools. What resulted in success in the past won't be the formula for tomorrow's success, so leaders need to flex to accommodate the new reality. And, the reality is expected to shift regularly, so leaders won't be able to be complacent.
The 4th industrial revolution fuelled by technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, internet of things, big data, augmented reality, and more. Just about every industry and company will change because of technology. Leaders will need to understand and have conversations and make decisions about technology. The ability to understand what tech can do for an organisation is essential, and leaders must continuously embrace new platforms and tech tools.
As a result of the influx of machines into the future workplace, leaders will need to be even more human. A human’s intuition is the ability to “read” what’s not being said and is at the moment a uniquely human skill. A leader who is willing to have conversations around what’s not being said and to hear the good, bad and ugly from their team will be poised for future success.
Future leaders won’t stay in their corner office. It will be imperative that leaders in the future work alongside their employees and get to know their strengths and weaknesses to help them acquire new skills and help drive their professional development. They will be very collaborative.
Leaders will need to quickly assess a situation and learn what they need in order to make effective decisions. Along with this, they will need to be open to coaching and learning from the subject matter experts on their team.
Our future workplaces will be diverse and global. Effective leadership requires someone adept at appreciating and leveraging the differences every individual brings to the team from their individual perspectives.
With a multigenerational and multicultural workforce, leaders will need to exude authenticity. These are the ones best able to build connexions and trust. Leaders will need to be authentic in times of uncertainty and failure just as they need to be when they are excited about success.
While the pace of the future workplace will be quick and it will require flexibility, a future leader will need to maintain focus on the objectives of the organisation. They provide the stability employees need even when the pace of change could make it easy to pivot from one priority to another. A strong leader will be able to cut through the chaos and make sure everyone knows what’s important.
Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.