Going into the next iteration of my business, I am seeing on a daily basis not just how essential it is to be a good leader, but how one must be willing to constantly learn more about leadership. To be open and honest about the struggles that leadership presents – because let’s face it, it is an uphill battle in a world which is constantly pulling at you to fix this, find that, solve this, stay aware of constant change – and at the same time have a bottom line which looks healthy.
As a result, the leadership challenges of the future are going to rest on the ability to recognise two key things; that we not only need to take on a new operating system that reflects a collaborative approach within our work structure, but that we understand both the why and the how of said system.
Why do we need to collaborate – and how are we going to do it?
The why is pretty clear; stay still, static and closed off as a leader – and that bottom line mentioned above is going to quickly turn a bright shade of crimson. Why? Because the status quo means stale. The world and consumers want new, evolving and exciting.
The how? That’s about grabbing your Monopoly piece, rolling the dice and attempting to collect your $200 by doing the following:
- Thinking big: don’t take a small-picture view. You are a leader – be a visionary as well.
- Recognising the need to act as a team: make sure you are talking with, not at, your team. Involvement, not exclusion.
- Embracing fears and vulnerabilities: share when you are thinking ‘oh hell, this may crash and burn’. Why? Because it allows people to see you. It also strengthens the team.
- Actively engaging: This is a no-brainer. Stay locked away and you lose ideas, imagination, sources of expertise, knowledge – you name it.
- Acting with bravery: don’t be a coward when it comes to decision making. Make the calls. You are leading from the front, not standing behind others and letting them take the fall.
- Being innovative: You may fail. But you know what? You may have the next iPhone.
- Disrupting that status quo: Paint the sky – don’t settle for beige. Leadership means breaking barriers.
- Questioning and challenging: If you want to be a great leader, then you have to be prepared to say ‘this is not OK’. Whether it is gender equality, the way a design is formulated or a product is being shipped, take a stand when it is worthwhile.
We are heading into a workspace which is beyond our wildest imaginings as leaders, as entrepreneurs, as heads of corporate, as business owners. We have an opportunity to make it a place which people want to actively be a part of.
The question is, are you brave enough to make it happen?