“Up to 40% of current Australian jobs could disappear within the next 15 to 20 years as robots and computers continue their unstoppable advance.” This headline (ABC, 4 July 2016) does not herald anything new, but rather serves to highlight the changing nature of work. Some change is obvious, some is more subtle and technology is not the only driver of this change.
The disruption to the historical concept of work is being influenced by four factors:
Employees are being asked to be more creative but with less time to do so; to be more innovative but within environments that are more risk averse; and to achieve the above with limited resources.
How do leaders engage with people in rapidly changing world of work? How do they motivate and inspire?
A range of leadership styles are evolving, which recognise that the work environment is radically changing.
With so much information available on organisations within the public domain, employees are more aware than ever of organisational reality both before they join and once they are there. The challenge for leaders is to create an environment where people want to work. This starts by leaders consistently behaving in a way that is predictable – no surprises.
Adaptive leadership emphasises the importance of every person and role within the organisation. Adaptive leadership views the organisation as an ever-changing, living entity where employees can learn, adapt and grow. Adaptive leaders mobilise people towards a common goal and also have the courage to experiment with new ideas and approaches.
Organisations are much more interdependent these days and hence it is critical that leaders are able to develop relationships that transcend levels, social structures, age, culture and geographies. Technology may be an inhibitor to this and leaders need to be connected via real relationships. They must develop relationships that transcend the formal structure enabling them to drive change by being more agile and dealing with ambiguity.
Sustainable leadership is focused not on short-term self-interest but considers the longer term and collective impact of decisions. Such leaders are compelled to make a difference by deepening their awareness of themselves in relation to the world around them. In doing so, they adopt new ways of seeing, thinking and interacting that result in innovative, sustainable solutions.
The challenge for leaders at all levels is to recognise that their leadership skills must change and evolve to reflect the nature of their environment and the work force. The traits and styles above suggest how some of the more successful leaders are responding. Organisations and their leaders must be nimble, engage with stakeholders and embrace change. Together this provides the most solid pathway to long-term success.
You might also be interested in:
The Philippines has, for six straight years now, topped the global rankings for both social media and internet usage. Last year, the Philippines also had one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world, impacting many businesses and accelerating digitalization. Find out how companies have leveraged consumers' digital savviness to survive, the kinds of digital solutions they have employed and what the projections are for digital commerce in the future.
The Netherlands and the agricultural sector have always been closely connected. Some 24% of the world’s trade in horticultural products is in Dutch hands, while 50% of global trade in floricultural products are controlled by Dutch companies. The Netherlands is the world’s number one in greenhouse horticulture, the number one producer of onions, and the number one exporter (in value) of fresh vegetables.