Never before has the corporate world been more receptive and interested in Leadership Development – in fact, this enhanced interest mirrors (and is largely due to) the increasing difficulty companies have in filling leadership roles.
As baby boomers retire and millennials take over, the long-haul mindset has taken a back seat – according to Brandon Hall by 2020, 48% of the US workforce will be made up of millennials and 91% of these plan to stay at their current job less than 3 years! The story is no different in India.
Succession planning is becoming more and more complicated as you not only have to find someone capable but also ensure they stick around long enough to lead!
This massive cultural change is reflected beyond just retention rates – with digital technology the workplace has become flatter and more collaborative – the old ways of siloed working are over! But digital transformation has also made the workplace more hectic and fast-paced – as things change quickly, employees are expected to react faster and think on their feet independently.
These scenarios have thrown up new and different challenges for the leadership.
We look at some new trends in Leadership Development that have kept abreast of these fresh challenges:
1. Flatter organisations require leaders who empower rather than control
Across industries, digital technologies and accelerating globalisation is pushing companies to reorganise themselves into flatter structures where decision making is more decentralised and flexible.
Leaders with ironclad control of their departments are being replaced with smaller, agile teams. In this scenario, it is important to develop a leadership style that inspires and motivates employees to take charge.
The new leaders are not required to do it all; rather they must help and encourage their employees to do it on their own. Leadership programmes are also now moving their focus to make leaders more comfortable with change and with working with decentralised teams.
2. Push for empathetic and engaging leadership styles
As millennials rise beyond entry-level positions, the need for a more value-driven leadership style to keep them engaged is felt across organisations.
The new generation values innovation and their individual growth and to keep them motivated and connected with the organisation’s values. There is a real need to create environments that encourage their personal growth and for team leaders to genuinely listen and relate to their employees.
Gone are the days of passing out commands and expecting people to follow blindly. Leadership development programmes are now increasingly offering conflict management and leadership empathy exercises to help leaders keep their teams happy and productive.
The focus has shifted from being a leader who is an expert to a leader who gathers experts and motivates them to deliver their best.
3. Providing flexible and easy-to-access learning for leaders
Leadership development sessions have been traditionally classroom based. As technology settles even more deeply in our daily lives, the new crop of millennial leaders is looking for more!
A blended approach to learning is now being explored for leadership sessions as well -making sure that there is flexibility in terms of locations and time which can make it easier for participants across geographies and time zones to get the full benefit of the training.
Going ahead L&D, on the whole, is moving towards experiential learning where self-directed learning resources give some of the responsibility of pulling the benefits of the training to the participants themselves.
According to a study by Deloitte, 56% of organizations are not ready to meet their leadership needs, and only 7% of the companies surveyed have accelerated leadership programs for millennials.
Seeing how millennials will take the reins in a decade, there is an urgent need to ensure that leadership development is offered at all levels of the organisations AND that this training caters to the upcoming challenges the next generation of leaders will face.
Is your organisation looking to engage millennial employees more effectively? If yes, then let us tell you that the first step is to ensure that your leadership understands what motivates them and knows how to engage them.
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