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4 emerging trends that are reinventing leadership

The leadership Within the business sector it can be understood as the ability of a person to direct, guide and influence the work behavior of others. Getting the team to join forces to move towards achieving common goals.

However, leadership has not always been assimilated this way, and has evolved a lot in recent years.

Factors such as the very rapid technological advance that we have experienced in the last three decades, changes in society and in the workforce, have given rise to the boss no longer useful to organizations. 

A few decades ago, business leadership was synonymous with a very rigid hierarchical structure. In which the leader, the boss, was above everyone and was an authoritarian figure who made his decisions unilaterally. 

From there it went to a more collaborative leadership, with leaders who cared about their team members and involved them in decision-making.

Today, we are moving towards a emotional and social leadership, which seeks to form diverse work teams to take advantage of the competitive advantage that diversity entails, and which has in emotional intelligence the most important capacity to be able to act as a leader.

Society is not static, ways of working change, markets also undergo changes and, therefore, leadership must now be more flexible than ever. Because you have to be able to adapt to reality at all times.

This leads us to talk about four important trends that are reinventing the way we understood leadership until now.

Table of Contents

Digital and technological leadership

The digital illiteracy It is the situation in which those people find themselves who have a total or great lack of knowledge about how new technologies work.

In our society, this phenomenon is especially suffered by older adults, and it causes many of them to feel excluded and cannot carry out essential procedures that they could previously do in person, such as withdrawing money from the bank or making an appointment with the doctor. doctor.

In the case of younger generations, it will be difficult for this unpleasant phenomenon to repeat itself, but we must be careful. Because Technology advances at such a rapid pace that knowledge can quickly become obsolete.

For leaders, it is vitally important to follow digital and technological advances. It is not just about not being left behind, but about having enough knowledge to foresee how things may evolve and be able to turn technology into a source of competitive advantage.

We see a clear example today in artificial intelligence. While some leaders are afraid that software could end up doing their job, others have already gotten to work to see how to take advantage of this technology to their advantage. 

Leaders must also lead the digital transformation of your companies, promoting the use of new technologies and a culture of digital learning, so that no one is left behind in their knowledge.

This evolution of leadership towards a more technological version shows us that the leader becomes increasingly more proactive in issues such as choosing tools to work with or in employee training, which were areas that until not too long ago they barely paid attention to.

Adaptive leadership

Flexibility seems to have become the buzzword in the workplace. If we take a look at the job offers published in any media, we will surely find several that refer to it as a essential capacity or ability in candidates.

In the workplace, flexibility is understood as the ability of a person to adapt to changes. Based on the fact that the greater this capacity, the easier and faster the worker adapts to new ways of carrying out their daily tasks.

If we require employees to be flexible, The leader has to be an example to follow in this matter. Hence, adaptive leadership is one of the latest and most important trends.

Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (what in the Anglo-Saxon world is known as VUCA) have become a constant in the business environment of the 21st century. Because so far we have faced several economic crises, a pandemic and war conflicts which, although geographically far from us, have had an economic impact on a global level. 

In addition, technological development has given rise to increasingly precise tools, which allow certain tasks to be automated and give employees at all levels more time to do work that has real added value for the company.

The business environment has always been changing, but now those changes happen much more quickly. The leader, who is a guide and an example to follow for his team, You must be the first to foresee the changes and adapt to them.

What is needed at this moment are agile minded leaders, who are capable of learning from their mistakes and empowering their employees so that they can make their decisions with autonomy and self-confidence.

Promoting a mentality oriented toward continuous improvement makes teams that are led by an agile leader capable of adapting to changing circumstances much more effective than other teams that continue to cling to old ways of doing things.

Inclusive and diverse leadership

In recent years, the presence of women in the labor market has increased, but also of people of different nationalities and ethnicities. This has given rise to work teams that are increasingly diverse.

Just a couple of decades ago, the majority of work teams in Spain were made up of middle-aged white Spanish men, with more or less training depending on the position they held.

If we take a look at current work teams, we see that this trend is changing. Now there is a greater variety in terms of sex, age, origin, cultural level, experience, training, etc.

It is the leaders who dared to commit to inclusivity at the time who realized that diverse teams were more efficient than those made up of very homogeneous profiles.

Because? For a very simple reason "Union make force", and in this case we are talking about the union of different capacities.

If in a team we have people with profiles that are very similar to each other, when faced with a certain problem, the pace of work can come to a standstill, because no one knows how to solve it.

On the contrary, if the team is made up of people who have different characteristics and skills, there is a greater probability that, among them, there will be at least one who is able to find the solution.

Aware of the benefits that a diverse team has for companies, leaders are now oriented towards promotion of equal opportunities, giving equal voice to all team members.

To achieve this, they themselves have had to Get rid of your prejudices and unconscious biases that they have been applying when managing personnel and making decisions.

The result of this trend is leaders with much more empathy and a marked social orientation. Whose good work can ensure that the hegemonic (and obsolete) culture established in companies regarding internal hiring and promotion begins to change.

Sustainable and socially responsible leadership

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) It is beginning to gain a foothold in many companies. Finally, organizations are aware that They cannot focus solely on their ability to generate economic benefits. They have to analyze how their activity affects the environment and communities, and take measures so that their contribution is positive.

Being more sustainable is already a top concern for companies of all types and sizes, and it is thanks to the work being carried out by the leaders most aware of this issue.

People who have put emphasis on how important it is for the company to promote the well-being of people and care for the environment.

These are leaders with a great social and environmental awareness, with a clear long-term vision, and who want leave a mark for more than just your ability to manage work teams. For them, the company achieving its sustainability objectives is as important as achieving economic goals.

Trends like these are giving rise to a new paradigm, in which the leader is required to have a balanced combination of technical, social and emotional skills. Therefore, those who can best adapt to this new business environment are the ones who will make the difference in the leadership of the present and the future.

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