Does Leadership Change? Looking Back 10 Years

This is my 10th year of writing this blog. In my very first blog, I wrote about the key principles of leadership from my perspective. I recently revisited that blog, wondering if it would still be relevant today.

I think it is, and it got me thinking about what my advice might be now and what changed in leadership over time.

Advice To Count On

Here are some key leadership principles that remain constant, although their application may change:

  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
    We definitely are experiencing getting comfortable being uncomfortable in new ways given the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Look around corners.
    We can see farther and faster now thanks to the evolution and easier access to data. Ten years ago, we were just talking about Big Data and its potential. Now organizations of all sizes are using it to make more informed decisions and to better run their businesses.

  • Make bold moves.
    Access to data is making this easier, too. Data can help take some of the uncertainty out of the equation and enable leaders to make more calculated moves. That being said, the important part is to be very decisive and actually do something about it.

  • Be an effective communicator.
    You need to communicate well and often as a leader. And as we have experienced with this recent crisis, you don’t always get a lot of time to prepare. My emails and communication to employees went from once a month to multiple times a week as COVID-19 made headlines here. Messaging and tone are really important; as always, communication is defined by the receiver.

New Advice

Our world is changing, and we will be leading differently in the future. There are a few new pieces of advice that I would give leaders today, regardless of this pandemic:

Leaders today need to…

  • Anticipate and respond to disruption.
    It will happen and it typically brings new opportunities with it. Uber, Square, Airbnb, Webex and Zoom are good examples of changes to traditional methods of doing business. Think about the impact Uber has had on transportation. Disruptions like those will only accelerate. Be ready.

  • Accelerate decision-making.
    The world is moving fast and leaders need to stay in step — or in front of shifts. That means we need to effectively accelerate decision-making among our teams and the related execution.

  • Thin slice and analyze data.
    We have mountains of data at our fingertips today. Being effective as leaders requires us to understand what data points to focus on and use it to take action. Analyzing data is a key skillset needed on your team. If it’s not your strength, you need to find someone who is really good at it.

It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since I wrote my first leadership blog. It’s interesting how much things seem to change and yet stay the same. From my perspective, technology seems to play the biggest role as a catalyst for the most change. So, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the last 10 years?

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Team