Dr Deepak Malhotra is a doctorate in management studies with a specialization in human resources, with more than 24 years of cross-industry professional exposure in the best of the brands. Deepak specializes in creating visible change at an organisational level through building systems, culture, commitment, and competencies. He is currently associated with NSHM Knowledge Campus, as Chief People Officer. He has extensively ventured deep into strategic human resources and people’s leadership. Deepak has been recognised by many reputed forums and top-notch educational institutions. You can find some more of his insightful content on https://drdeepakmalhotra.in.
As we move into the future, also known as Corporate 2.0, the meaning of leadership is set to change. Come 2020, leadership will go global. We’ll no longer have managers or deputy managers – we’ll have global leaders – people who connect with people and chase workplace happiness instead of numbers and goals. Let’s understand what will it take for managers to become global leaders and the traits that will set apart these leaders from the corporate crowd.
It would shock you when I say that most of the people are looking for a change. In this disruptive world, change is the only constant. It is an inevitable part of life. It happens whether we’re ready or not. The secret of living successfully is to learn to handle the changes that come your way. It is possible to learn to set our sail, so that the winds of change blow us in the direction we choose rather than onto the rocks. But why exactly do we fear change? Let’s understand. Nobody wants to leave the comfort to which they have become accustomed. We fear risk or changing our situations because:
- We get extremely comfortable in the current situation
- Scared of failing
- Scared of uncertainty in the leap to a new future
- We get trapped between ‘may be’ or ‘may not be’
There are things I can’t force. I must adjust it. There are times the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.
To be honest, it is good sometimes to initiate life changes ourselves. Unless you have a strong enough desire, you will never see the needed changes become a reality in your life. What we desire to see happen in our life, we must then make a decision to change.
Dealing with Change as a Leader
Looking at the other side, leaders can manage this disruption if they can formulate the right strategy, enroll and engage people, and then navigate significant cataclysms. To manage people and change, you must understand shop floor, projects, changes it goes through in short and long term, and your people.
Mapping how each aspect of the organisation would be affected would be important for continual success. Leaders must answer two very important questions – who is affected? and how is s/he affected? Lastly, a people leader must listen, learn, and adjust the action, wherever necessary. Implementation and correction is as important as ideating and listening.
Leaders can manage this disruption if they can formulate the right strategy, enroll and engage people, and then navigate significant cataclysms. To manage people and change, you must understand shop floor, projects, changes it goes through in short and long term, and your people.
Remember, the game could change in a matter of seconds. Knowledge is transient, and it keeps outdating itself. A leader for me must ‘learn to be a learner’. A winner is the one who forgets old knowledge fast and learns new knowledge faster.
Communication, including listening to the concerns, the team insights, and experience, is critical during execution. There is always a need for a people leader to guide teams through the emotional change, which is part of change.
We would be one of the youngest workforces in a decade or so, and our future depends entirely on producing employable team-members and global leaders in all fields. I believe we are producing more deputy managers and not enough global leaders. What’s your take on this statement?
You must be as shocked as I am to see:
NASSCOM figures predicting that 90 per cent of graduates are unemployable and it is equally surprising to see 3.4 million people applying for 200 odd clerical posts in SBI.
It is important that we people leaders make commitment to make others successful and produce more leaders and not just scared followers. We must also teach them relentless execution and ability to collaborate, which would be so important for our and one-click generations future.
Being a Global Leader
Globalisation has become a fancy term, cross-cultural differences are a big differentiator, which changes every 100 kilometres in India, apart from the political and economic variety. Our focus should not only be on personal achievements, but we also need to focus on solving the toughest challenges we face as a nation. We must devote some time to community, society, and country, even as we pursue our career aspirations.
Take your accomplishment lightly and your commitments seriously. Learn to follow first and leading others will happen automatically.
It is easier said than done. In your mind the next question would be how do we make sure that they are global leaders? What should be the traits to look out for? As we are a one-click nation, going forward, strong support is definitely required in terms of economics, governance, psychology, leadership, and human behaviour. Schools must work closely with industries, leaders, and employers. Focus must be on specific employee needs, when the one-clicks reach the workplace.
The skill sets needed in future leaders must be more integrated towards complex thinking. Marshall Goldsmith once said, “Many of our leadership programs are based on the faulty assumption that if we show people what to do, they can automatically do it.” According to me, here are the top ten leadership traits we would need in global leaders 2025 and ahead:
- Collaborative Orientation
- People Development Skills
- Learning Nimbleness
- Digitally Dexterous
- Global Mind-set with Desi Outlook
- Cultural Agility
- Cognizance & 360-degree Communication
- Impending Focus
- Disruptive Champion
Definitely, some of you would look at analytics, human v/s automation/ robotics, etc. too.
The more diverse the list is, the better we would be able to train our future leaders.
While we think about skills of the future global leaders, we must also question the impending trends, and how they’ll affect us. Is Artificial Intelligence (AI) our greatest existential threat? Will AI take your job? Is privacy dead? Is Universal Basic Income a viable strategy or just a temporary bandage? Will AI solve all our problems? Will it make us happier? We can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out. If we don’t candidly answer the pertinent questions, we will only paint a false picture.
In my opinion, the impending future trends that’ll impact leadership as a whole will be:
- Flexibility and agility
- Going global
- Increased demand for core competencies
- Collective leadership
- Generational differences and its management
All in all, leadership is bound to change radically in the near future. With many leaders feeling unprepared for the economy around them. We’ll surely see more management policies fostering sustainability and witness a transition from the autocratic, control-and-command management style to its democratic variety.
Leadership of the Future – What it Means
When it comes to leadership of the future, we’ll finally see its human face employed as a growing factor in business success by many global brands.
As people leaders we must do the following: –
- Encourage and ensure all team members are your brand ambassadors
- Invest in development of human capital
- Leadership style for future is empathetic
- Focus on individualistic and not one to many approaches. It can be learning, compensation or anything for that matter, as the need is individualistic.
- One-clicks love to see their leaders in action
- Be customer centric as an organisation. People will automatically fall in place with the pillar of philosophy.
- Embrace ‘work life blend’
- Control things you can control internally
- Taking inclusion more seriously
- Elevate and retain women leadership
- Work to order relationship must nurture. We are moving from one employee one organisation. Leaders must embrace that this is the future of work and efficiency too.
- Promote continuous learning. Learning will extend to a growing number of online micro-learning platforms.
The leaders of the future must be able to ‘know’, ‘do’ and ‘be’. They should also be prepared to actively encourage and support their reports’ increasing desire to improve their own employability. To succeed continually in the future, we must be far more agile, responsive and able to adapt to the needs of a radically different workplace over the coming years.
People leaders must commit to make others successful and produce more leaders and not just scared followers. They must also teach people relentless execution and ability to collaborate, which would be so important for our and one- click generations future.
They must also continue to contend with further technological and cultural change that will impact how organisations operate and ensure the core management and leadership practices are successfully carried out.
Sustainability opportunities and so are the challenges complex, both globally but yet rooted in people’s belief, culture that leaders of tomorrow must have the following impending core qualities: –
- Systems thinking to identify paradigms driving change
- Mediating skills to facilitate sharing, ownership and foster innovation
- Vision rooted in service, ethical behaviour as one-clicks believe in contribution to the ‘big picture’
- Decisiveness. To me, leadership would be about leading with heart and to serve rather than rule. As it is truly said, people skills were 500 years back also important and will be equally important 500 years from now too.
We need leaders that are able to build awareness and mobilise commitment, leaders that are capable of consolidating gains to produce more changes, leaders with credible plans to get there and leaders with enough energy to communicate until it hurts. Future leaders should have a good palette of blue, red and green qualities enabling them re-shape culture through engaging and mobilising people.
- Blue: concrete and practical people who search for solutions that must be useful and serve a cause. They focus on facts and accurate details and deliver precision of end results.
- Red: people who enjoy spending time with each other and get energy from being with others. They share feelings, show respect and are patient.
- Green: people who enjoy new and untraditional ideas. They like the idea of doing things different and enjoy looking deeply into issues. They have the characteristic to look at the overall picture form different angles and offer imaginative solutions. They are ambitious with high goals.
Building a Culture of Global Leadership
Let us then address a big concern- should there be a global outlookwith local implementation? If theorganisation wants better quality,greater efficiency, their leadersshould push the employees toidentify different approaches andthe leaders must empower theemployees. Be confident of theirskills to break the jinx.
We must ensure a culture where you can challenge, and changes can be recommended and well appreciated. Most of the leaders fail when they think their organisations would be global overnight. They want to pitch themselves where they cannot reach rather than where they should start from!
Leaders must continuously work on the following:
- Identify opportunities to change
- Risk taking attitude in DNA
- Presenting and accepting ideas with open mind set
- Answering the big ‘why’
- Improve on daily basis. You win daily and not in a day.
Apart from above diversity management is important in an ever changing world. Love and compassion are necessities and not luxuries. Scientist believe that we secrete the bonding hormones oxytocin, which lightens up our brain and enables us to care for people.
Assumptions, labels, biases, and prejudices are real, and can blind the best intent of leaders.
Therefore, we must watch out for subtle behaviours of discrimination. Self-check as a people leader, if you are making any assumptions about people. Check if you are sensitive to the unique needs of diverse people. Being inclusive is hard work. All this needs vigil, intent, patience, and conscious practice till it becomes a ‘habit’.
Leaders make sure that diversity is not just about gender diversity, and there is actual inclusion in policy making as well. Inclusion is not a project to be completed or a campaign to be run. It is a culture building exercise for the organisation. Non-inclusive behaviours must be pointed out and penalised. Small behaviours of sensitivity and respect build the foundation for inclusion.
The best way to embrace an assortment of interpretations, ethos, and involving everyone together is through small-steps:
- Looking beyond the compliance framework
- Identification of talent pool, which would help you in implement your core values at an organisational level
- Diversity in talent transformation policy and its implementation
- Connecting the like-minded ones, helps you to be inclusive and it even reduces your attrition rates too
- Make it a part of your leadership vision
Be distinct, or be extinct – this is a simple principle, but very difficult to implement when we keep in mind the global outlook with local mindset, which is necessary to succeed here. You must cultivate your core competencies and outsource the other contextual elements. Disruptive technologies have made linear improvement obsolete. One has to be paranoid about the speed of change, thus one has to constantly reinvent and implement.
We need leaders that are able to build awareness and mobilise commitment, leaders that are capable of consolidating gains to produce more changes, leaders with credible plans to get there and leaders with enough energy to communicate, communicate until it hurts.
India which has the youngest workforce, can definitely do many special things to the world. We are full of diversity, struggle, and very de-humanizing in our approach. The balanced scorecard is a part of life and we have to balance dharma, kama, artha, and moksha. At the highest level the perspective of moksha should be shown to the world, which we Indians can lead. Spirituality also described the supreme reality.
Focus on glocal research, learning & development, incubation of ideas, innovative ways of reaching to large population, etc. should be the key mandates for all good educational institutions. Mediocrity is the risk to the hunger to win continually.
‘What if’ is the question which most of the leaders who win continually answer perfectly.