Leadership Challenges in 2020 and Beyond
Integrity and ethics truly differentiate great leaders. Business Leaders will be held to account to move beyond traditional corporate social responsibility and act to improve their impact on society. Innovating purpose with sustainability as business will become the pervading money making strategy.
More and more customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders now expect organization’s to have a sustainability mission and to demonstrate what results they accomplish in this area.
Research from 763 middle- and executive-level leaders in organizations from China/Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the U.S.A. and Spain found that leaders consistently face the same challenges.
- Mobilizing and directing transformation: the challenge of leading, managing, comping with change. Guiding transformation includes knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance and constructively mastering employee’ reactions. Developing the relevant skills — strategic thinking, decision-making, time-management and prioritization— to be more effective.
- Inspire and develop employees: the challenge of unleashing and unifying the resources of talented employees, mentoring and coaching to ensure they’re satisfied with their jobs, engaged and working smarter towards the company targets. The complex task of team development, and team management. Specific leadership issues include how to instill pride, how to provide support, how to lead a big team, and what to do when taking over a new team.
- Managing Stakeholders: the challenge of branding, managing investor relationships and politics. These leadership challenges include gaining managerial support, managing up, and getting buy-in from other departments, groups, or individuals.
2020 Leadership challenges
Be proactive in setting goals, as well as establishing timelines — and deadlines — to keep yourself and your teams on track. Disruptions must be circumvented not to lose sight of long-term and even short-term goals. We easily get sucked into dealing with urgent issues that arise unexpectedly rather than staying focused on producing the outcomes that matter most to your organizations longer-term survival.
No leader can avoid surprises. Goal setting and core purpose provides a GPS to refocus on your ROI priorities while handling other leadership challenges.
- Set targets that ALL can quantify to assess progress.
- Create deadlines for hitting milestones.
- Innovate employee responsibility to take actions they – not their superiors – decide comply with the company’s vision. Selfdriven workplaces benefit from empowering fundamental human needs of equality, self-realization and self-direction. Employees commit to the work because they want to and they high perform, consequently their companies largely outperform competitors.
Research from thought-leading organization’s including the World Economic Forum, the CIPD, Gartner and BCG’s Henderson Institute identify similar challenges facing leaders who must develop co-workers who lead into a new era of complexity and uncertainty.
Leaders need to gain expertise in why people commit as the workplace evolves in our fast-moving, complex world. Talented individuals want to create their own learning journeys through face-to-face, virtual, digital, coaching, and immersive meaning creating opportunities.
- 43% say they want to become more agile. In an era of uncertainty and complexity, research shows that the need for adaptable, agile teams is greater than ever. While many organisations accept the benefits of agile teams in principle – many still struggle with hierarchical structures, which undermine employee engagement and productivity. Agile team working can drive innovation. To accelerate agile and increased collaboration, leaders need to mobilize greater learning ability.
- 30% want to develop future-focused skills. Concerning is how unprepared many organization’s are to face the future as the pace of change increases. Recent research found that 46% of HR leaders say employees lack the skills necessary to drive future performance. The digital age increases the need not only for digital literacy but also for very ‘human’ skills such as creativity and innovation.
Skills such as imagination, creative analysis, and strategic thinking are hard to automate and will become highly valued. The hardest activities to automate are those that involve managing and developing people or that apply expertise to decision-making, planning and creative work.
- 19% are concerned about digital disruption and the technological transformation of our working lives. Research shows that AI, automation and the emphasis on data interpretation will become more mainstream in 2020 with untapped opportunity for HR. Prioritize what you need to gain the most valuable ROI. As we automate more tasks, we can free people up to be more strategic and innovative.