How Leadership is Changing and Evolving 

Paolo Giuricich, Organisation Development Consultant

The professional landscape has changed dramatically in the last few decades. Today, most employees supporting our economy are young and full of energy; the days of leadership being seen as all about control and unwavering regulation are long gone – a new era is upon us.

Within a professional setting, the race for leadership will be won not by the person who shouts the loudest, or even the person with the most expertise in their field, but by someone who is able to celebrate and build up their juniors, and knows how to relate to people in order to promote success.

I was recently invited to an event at a company I used to work for, celebrating the now considerable impact that the CA(SA)s organisation has had during the last two decades by spreading the word on what it means to be a leader in the modern workplace.

I left the event feeling proud and inspired, and looking back at my own experiences of leadership through the years, everything I’ve learned – that understanding culture, background and context are all essential for being a great leader – has only been further cemented. 

“The new leader knows how to relate in order to premote success”

The model is designed to help you connect with who you consider yourself to be, your life goals and how your career fits within those parameters to ensure you’re working in a direction that suits your abilities. It’s all too easy to lose sight of your core values when you’re the corporate world; Schein’s theory helps people recentre and reconnect with who they truly are and what they’re capable of. Starting afresh in this way can be incredibly beneficial for determining a career path that plays to your strengths.

The types of skills that are valued today are different from those in the past; now, soft skills (e.g. the ability to relate to one another and communicate successfully) are the most valuable when involved in the world of business. ‘Soft skills’ is even deemed by some to be a misleading term, as these types of skills are in fact difficult to obtain and require just as much time and commitment – if not more so – than hard skills.

There is very little true reward to be found in being the classic idea of a ‘boss’…”

I am not the type of leader who exercises authority in a ‘command and control’ way; I prefer to adapt and tailor my leadership style in line with the intrinsically diverse world of business. I feel that this style of leadership is the most positive and progressive direction to take, and aligns with values that promote a happy workplace – and a successful business.

These concepts can be traced back to the early ‘80s, when Donald T Brown expressed ideas about leading a group and working as part of a team. Unlike many previous writers in the field, Brown’s focus was on the general qualities associated with emerging leadership, rather than on the established role of the leader as an individual.

Brown also highlighted that leadership takes many forms, and is not restricted to a single person’s role; indeed, he wrote that everyone within a team could take on leadership duties to adjust to changes in the cultural climate. The model coined by Brown really struck a chord with me, and continues to resonate within both my personal and professional life today.

The phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ comes to mind – this leadership model is about inclusivity and teamwork, which I have always understood are the keys to success, not only in business, but in every human endeavour.

There is very little true reward to be found in being the classic idea of a ‘boss’. For me, a great leader is someone who can bring out the leadership qualities in everyone else in their team.

My celebration went above and beyond 20 years of success; it became a personal triumph for me too, and I am sincerely grateful for all the incredible opportunities I have been gifted with throughout my career that have allowed me to lead in a new and revolutionary way, and bring out the very best in people so they can exceed me and be better leaders than I ever could myself.

There’s always something worth celebrating. Which moments in your career do you want to celebrate, and how do you plan on growing as a leader in the years to come?

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