If the past year has taught us anything, it has to be that our constantly evolving business, technology and social landscapes mean that effective leadership has never been more important.
So what does a potential future leader need to do know now in order to emerge as a credible voice, partner and figurehead?
At a recent live Secrets from A Coach event, my podcast host, Laura Thomson-Staveley, and I had the privilege of engaging in a dynamic conversation with a small panel of industry leaders.
Hailing from diverse sectors such as retail, music and the maritime industry, these leaders shared valuable insights into the essential qualities and strategies for effective leadership.
Adaptability and empathy, the importance of clarity and vision, and the need for leaders to be in shape for the future were discussed, alongside the importance of understanding what young talent values.
The group also shared their thoughts on the future of leadership, the challenges of hybrid environments, and the need for sustainable teams.
Effective leadership is essential for any business to thrive – and the panel discussed the importance of learning and development to create an environment where people can grow and lead.
Together, the speakers emphasised the need for inspirational leadership to make work, well work. By putting inclusivity and creativity front and centre can help businesses to both attract the best people and achieve key business goals.
Key takeaways from our conversation included adaptability, empathy, hope, clarity, vision and the importance of understanding the values of young talent.
Adaptability and empathy
The conversation began with a poignant question about the future of leadership and what it takes to be an inspirational leader. The consensus among the panelists highlighted adaptability as a cornerstone quality.
The need for leaders to understand the context of their goals and the necessity to be different depending on the situation.
Genuine empathy was also identified as a crucial trait, recognising the blurred lines between home and work life and the significant impact leaders can have on the wellbeing of their teams.
Clarity and vision
The discussion pivoted towards the retail industry, where a panelist spoke about the importance of clarity and vision. The speaker stressed the need for leaders to be clear about the direction of the business and the journey ahead.
Effective leaders articulate their goals and instil a sense of purpose within their teams, even if the chosen path may not be the most conventional.
Shaping the future
The discussion emphasised the shifting landscape of leadership, particularly in the face of challenges posed by hybrid working environments.
The need for leaders to stay in shape for the future was a recurring theme, with insights from various industries providing a holistic view.
Importantly, the need for mentors and friends to challenge thinking and keep leaders accountable was underscored, especially in industries like music, which has seen massive transformations.
Understanding young talent
As we explored the impact of leadership on the younger generation, the discussion turned to the evolving values of young talent.
Our retail industry speaker highlighted the significance of recognising the sustainability and environmental perspectives that shape the values of emerging professionals.
Understanding what drives the younger workforce is crucial for creating inclusive and effective leadership.
Creating sustainable teams
The challenge of creating sustainable teams was discussed, especially the challenges posed by hybrid work settings. The need for diversity in thought and the celebration of differences within teams was emphasised.
Moreover, the shift towards a more collaborative and inclusive leadership style, even in virtual environments, was discussed to help foster meaningful connections among team members.
The most successful teams are united in what they want to achieve and love doing the work to reach those goals. It’s important to create meaningful moments for them to be connected to the company’s purpose.
Shaping a future where people thrive should include fostering hope and clarity in decision-making to encourage leaders and their people to look for opportunities rather than viewing challenges as a competitive race.
A commitment to continuous conversations, learning and adapting to the changing landscape of leadership are all essential quality leadership skills in today’s workplace.
As we navigate the future of leadership, the lessons shared in this discussion serve as a compass, guiding us towards creating inclusive, sustainable and inspirational leadership practices.