The changing face of leadership

Leading a business today is tough, but it's probably no tougher than at any other time in history, just different. Technological advancement  creates changes at a super-fast rate, and your ability to be agile and work with change is going to mean the difference between surviving, thriving or shutting the doors and going home.

Too many institutionalised thinkers continue to reminisce about the good old days of human doing, when people were grateful to have a job and performance is measured in output. Governments measure success based on continual GDP growth, promising our lives will all improve as a result. The old mindset uses language that evokes scarcity and fear, with strategies to kill the competition, take overs, talk of layoffs or threat analysis. The world  feels like a particularly hostile environment when viewed through the institutionalised perspective.

But there is a new kind of leader emerging. The generationX leader is stepping up and taking positions of influence. As LeaderX becomes more prominent , we see a new perspective gaining momentum throughout the world. A view based on abundance, opportunities and growth, where everyone’s  talents are celebrated, and the human being is valued. LeaderX informs strategy which is focused on purpose and bigger impact. They hold a perspective that looks for solutions, opportunities, disruption and innovation.

It is a leadership philosophy which has been shaped by the environment in which the leaders find themselves and how they grew up and is changing the way we think about who we are, why we do what we do and the impact we have on the world around us. The rise of LeaderX is happening right now. They are speaking up, leading thoughts, ideas and businesses towards a better, more sustainable future. They are everywhere and only now is their influence being noticed.

No longer is wealth accumulation, unconscious consumption and selfishness the only way forward and LeaderX is waking us up to a new future. We can't have infinite growth on a finite planet, nor abundance without engagement, community and fulfilment. LeaderX is challenging established institutionalised methods, shaking and waking us up and the next generation of consumers are loving it. By the end of the decade, the LeaderX way can be the new way, if only they are empowered and have enough belief in themselves to stand up and take the lead. We are witnessing a transition in thought and business leadership as GenerationX begin to rise. With Uber, Airbnb, challenging institutionalised brands, #Metoo and #ClimateStrike hashtags influencing our belief systems and old powerhouses like Debenhams and Thomas Cook failing to adapt to the new way of doing business, we are already embracing a world where LeaderX is making a difference, we just need more of them to take the lead.

No longer prepared to accept autocratic leadership where profits are ranked higher than people and the planet, this new generation of leaders look to collaborate to find solutions to the world’s biggest problems through building partnerships and tapping into everyone’s  ideas and talents.. They celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion, choose on-line, socially conscious, brand affirming, innovative companies to spend their money on and to work in. Old school tactics just don't sit right with them and the younger generations look to follow those leaders with vision, purpose and a greater mission. They choose brands that align to their values and who take their corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously and are above all, human.

Millennials aren't naive. They know that profit is what makes a business stay in business, just as any other generation before them did. Yet 75% believe that most companies only care about profits. There is an overwhelming agreement amongst Millennials that company success should not only measure profits. As they see it, greed drives greed and we are all experiencing the consequences. And so too, GenerationX also believe that life is a balance and other measures such as employee engagement, social impact and sustainability are just as important.  As consumers we all make choices on how we spend our money and now we are making choices based on the company's leaders reputation, it's brand, it's CSR, and how they treat their employees. We all want to feel proud of who we work for, because our work and lives are fluid, integrated and part of our identity.  If you can't demonstrate CSR, inclusion, diversity, development and opportunities, don't be surprised if you can't attract talent and with that you, as the leader, are responsible.

As GenX steps up to lead, with over 20 years of experience behind them, they lead with values and purpose. They have been kept on the side-lines for long enough and are impatient to make an impact.  In 2018, GenX assumed 51% of the leadership roles, and as the boomers retire, that number is increasing. For those that opt out of corporate life,  they are choosing to set up their own businesses, balancing work, life and purpose. 58% of all starts ups are founded by the GenX leader, the most entrepreneurial generation to date. The skills that got them to where they are now still matter, but this generation are continual developers, always learning and always humble. They know that what they deliver is important, but how you deliver and the impact you have on others is critical.

As technology and artificial intelligence continues to replace many physical and routine cognitive functions, the modern leader is in the realms of leading hearts and minds. With the overwhelming research in psychology, behavioural science and neuroscience the case for, top down, autocratic style leadership just doesn't cut it anymore. We know that this approach stifles performance, creativity and engagement. Your followers know it too and demand better. The 2017 Gallup survey showed that 87% of employees globally are not fully engaged.  Those companies with employee engagement in top percentile outperform those in the bottom percentile by 30%. That's 30% better results from nothing more than happy, engaged employees. The financials make sense.

This new type of leader, LeaderX,  already knows this - not because someone has researched it, they know because they intrinsically understand it. They understand that they are unique and when people treat them as such, they fly. They've experienced old school management and they know in their bones that this is not the right way of doing things. They have experienced great leadership where they were given autonomy and freedom and know how they developed as a result. They believe that work shouldn't be hard. That the best days should be the ones you have throughout your life, not just when you finally retire, too exhausted to really enjoy it. LeaderX is a bridge from the 20th Century attitudes towards work, career and life, and the 21st Century view of happiness, freedom, globalisation and humanity. They are primed and ready to lead now and are doing a pretty fine job of it.

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