Leaders in organisations everywhere are experiencing a continual evolution of norms in the way we view and react to political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors. Even our personal lives are subject to changes impressed upon us by this changing landscape; a workforce with shifting priorities and working styles is forcing leaders to adapt and work in new ways. 

It's no secret that the ability to spot and nurture leadership is key to business success. But, as technology continues to revolutionise the way we live, work and lead are companies, and crucially leaders, fully equipped for what lies ahead?

Recently Page Executive were delighted to host Reena Dayal, executive life coach based out of India and UK to discuss entrepreneurism, the challenges facing modern business leaders and the future of leadership and launch her e-book The Brilliance Quotient,. After the event Reena spent time with Sally Wilson, Business Manager, Strategy, Transformation and Change practice at Page Executive, to discuss the issues raised and how business leaders can equip themselves to tackle this changing landscape.

The key challenges facing business leaders in 2017

The modern workforce is changing the way that business is done. A diverse mix of ages, backgrounds, drivers and priorities that historically were not present have fundamentally altered the corporate climate. This change is mirrored in a new wave of business models, best practices, customer behaviours and technologies. The climate is fundamentally changing at a rapid pace and leadership is having to adapt to keep up.

As explored in Page Executive’s recent report on the Future of Leadership, management techniques and leadership styles that have worked well in the past are no longer wholly effective. Furthermore, those that have progressed through their careers under these traditional leadership models may be finding that a lot of what they have learned along the way is now outdated. However this should not be looked upon as a barrier, but rather an opportunity to learn, grow and do things differently.

Reena Dayal: ‘This should be looked upon as an exciting time for senior leaders, high performing key talent and new age entrepreneurs who want to stretch themselves and instil meaningful change in their organisations. Those with the ambition to do so can re-write the rules that will define the future of their teams, their organisations and their industries.’

The skills, competencies and experience do you envisage being important as the landscape changes?

RD: Let’s look around and we will find many suggestions on what could be on the list, but the fact is that we all lead busy lives with huge pressures and seemingly lesser time as each day goes by. A long list of to-do’s is not very helpful. Therefore my suggestion is to try focusing on a few key levers, mastering them through practice and making them a habit. 

What are these levers? Here are some of my suggestions - The ability to think clearly and reframe in the moment so as to reveal powerful choices; to maintain a strong personal energetic presence inside-out; to master the art of playing to their natural strengths and that of their teams; to imbibe the skills of an experienced coach and above all be successful in embedding a culture that nurtures transformation and celebrates diversity.

In addition, I must make a vital point. With the changing landscape, I believe the leadership game just got bigger, deeper and wider. My submission is that a truly ‘great’ leader is someone who has moved into the realm of becoming a visionary in every aspect of their lives - not just at the workplace. They are the ones who are able to widen their impact beyond the workplace, who are operating as powerful visionaries, systematically connecting the dots, seeing the bigger picture and developing a unique perspective born out of intuition and wisdom.

With technology bringing a rapid and unprecedented rate of disruption, honing the ability to take risks, adapt to change and foresee implications for customers and employees alike will be critical to becoming a successful leader. Furthermore, the ability to encourage an entrepreneurial culture, and empower others to make decisions that improve the everyday (and more importantly, beyond), will become a must-have when transitioning from manager to leader.

The place of entrepreneurship in the current corporate climate? 

Amongst many corporations we are beginning to see a growing culture of intra-preneurialism flourish. Corporations will support their employees in entrepreneurial activities, providing them with the time, space and independence required to develop creative endeavours. We will begin to see an increasing number of ‘Entrepreneur in Residence' job titles or initiatives, where time is set aside for people to pursue their own projects.

RD: I absolutely believe that organisations should be looking to attract, retain and nurture entrepreneurial individuals. Entrepreneurship is the one of the cornerstones of business evolution and one of the biggest drivers of success everywhere from the start-up and SME to the large corporates.

It is not enough to simply hire individuals with new ways of thinking about our business and industry, we must ensure that we have the in-house bandwidth to harness their talent and the trust in them to action change. The number of freelancers, start-ups and market disruptors is ever increasing and corporations can derive a great deal of value from the forward thinking approach so common among these individuals and businesses.

Leadership styles must adapt and evolve to manage a more creative and independent workforce. This will have structural and operational implications, as leaders grapple with a growth in the number of employees seeking leadership in the non-traditional sense. Supporting a culture of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity will require flexibility and aspirational guidance over structural leadership.

When it comes to tackling key business challenges, recruiting the right senior talent to provide strategy and leadership is absolutely essentially. To discuss how Page Executive can do this for your business please get in touch with Sally Wilson. 

Sally Wilson
Tel: 0207 269 2599
Email: [email protected]

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