A bold look at the world we live in, and where it is headed if nothing changes in our ways of living, educating, thinking, growing & leading. We shed some light on why we are where we are & what needs to change in our societal & leadership models.
by Evelyne Legaux on 20-06-2023
How often do we take time out of our daily/weekly schedule to step back & reflect on the world we live in today? Presumably not often enough… humans having a tendency to prioritize their own short term needs & wants.
It is a worthwhile exercise though, because what we are most likely to see is a world faced with unprecedented global challenges: climate change related disasters, loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution as a time-bomb, East-West geostrategic competition, military conflicts in Europe & elsewhere with their daily cohort of atrocities, the rise of populism & autocracies, the growing rejection of traditional politics in democratic countries, the threats posed by generative AI to data privacy, intellectual property rights, ethics or cybersecurity, and so on…
What this simply means is that, while planet Earth itself will survive albeit in a different state, humanity is on a self-destructive trajectory & the world is becoming an increasingly threatening place to be… So, let’s explore a few essential questions here & how they challenge the concept of leadership.
How did we get to where we are today, in the first place? What does this tell us about our global governance, political systems & societal models?
It is fair to say that, if the world is failing humanity in many regards with a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable, something isn’t quite right in our political systems & social structures, nor in our traditional leadership model…
This is equally applicable in all walks of life, and primarily in professional life, career progression & business at large where delivering tangible results for shareholders & other stakeholders, logically is the number 1 priority.
The combination of all the above ingredients has created a perfect recipe for failure whose chaotic outcomes can be observed, witnessed or experienced across the entire world today.
If people engagement is low, chances are leadership effectiveness is low too. And if leaders continue to be chosen based on the same old criteria & keep doing things the same old ways, not only will they be crushed by the whirlwind of change, but humanity itself is at risk of perishing…
In actuals facts, the immediate world around us is changing very fast with new rules of engagement, news ways of working, new expectations & new technologies. Profound shifts are impacting corporates, with many leaders utterly unprepared to navigate same, feeling overwhelmed & caught in the web of doing... what is not right &/or not important…
So, something needs to change at the root of our political & societal systems, starting with awareness and a shift in mindset & priorities…
What should leaders – whether in the corporate world or elsewhere - do?
The so-called ‘Gen Z’, or the importance of getting it!
With the traditional autocratic top-down leadership style at a loss in our post-pandemic world, new leadership style & skills need to emerge, and the sooner the better. Employees, other stakeholders across the board & some of the leaders themselves are actually asking to be freed from the old concept of leadership, in favour of a more horizontal, collaborative & human-centric approach.
Interestingly, more & more voices are calling for leaders to turn towards ‘Gen Z’ & to thoroughly listen to what those young people born 15 to 25 years ago & now starting their work life, have to say…
A direct consequence is that the ‘Gen Z’ cohort understands that the world needs to become a better place, and is looking for assurances in relation to its own future…
Another consequence is that ‘Gen Z’ is a generation of sceptics whose trust & respect can only be earned if they pass the test of authenticity.
With ‘Gen Z’ not letting money & material possessions define their social status, a clear impact for leaders here is that it is harder to influence & engage young people who do not see their monthly pay check as an incentive & may even be financially independent elsewhere.
Another direct consequence is that ‘Gen Z’ clearly expects to use & leverage the latest technologies to perform their job, which ought to be simple & fast to execute as a result, thus leaving time for more interesting value-add activities.
Bottom line is young people have a clear vision for the future that they want! Those leaders who can understand the ‘Gen Z’ mindset & inspire them, will attract the right talents to build the right future.
Visionary leadership - nurtured by purpose, courage, authenticity & compassion - is the way forward in our world that is deeply evolving towards a new era. Courage often occurs to people when they have no other option to survive, this is where humanity is at today… And this is why ‘disruptive’ leaders must emerge, bringing new ways of thinking & values that will earn ‘Gen Z’’s respect, trust & engagement.
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