Rethink Your Leadership Paradigm

If I asked you to map out the leaders in your organization, would it just be a list of your management team? If so, it might be time to rethink your leadership paradigm.

The truth is — the time of the traditional manager—and management hierarchy—is ending. Why? Consider the following:

Workplace activity is more matrixed and project-based than ever, which means whether you like it or not, non-managers make more high-impact decisions autonomously.

You need people throughout your organization equipped with a leadership mindset and the skills to match because your success increasingly hinges on individual contributors’ ability to carry out your company strategy.

Your organization must foster creative thinkers with business acumen, who can positively impact the organization and move fluidly between being a leader and an individual contributor. The good news is: most millennials are eager to be these people.

Two additional sources to consider:

  • Google recognized this back in 2014. In fact, former CEO and founder Eric Schmidt centered their whole operations strategy on attracting, empowering, and retaining this talent type —> How Google Works
  • In 2018, Gallup provided their take on the evolution of the workplace, autonomy, and the future of management in —> The End of the Traditional Manager

So, how can you make the shift? Here are three (3) things you can do to get started:

1. Make leadership development a pillar in your long-term people development strategy.

  • Identify individuals that are ready to be leaders and create a development plan that includes 1:1 coaching.
  • Include 360 assessments as part of your development plans—these should be done quarterly. NOTE: A person’s development will be owned by many, not just their direct line manager. Your organization needs to be set up for this reality.
  • Explore the strengths of each leader and design their roles for success. (What are their strengths, gaps?)

2. Rate the effectiveness of your leaders as part of their performance review.

  • Are they able to manage change through creative problem-solving?
  • Do they encourage original thinking?
  • Are they able to move easily between individual contributor, project manager, and leader?
  • Are they productive in a matrixed environment?
  • How well do they develop and encourage others to lead?
  • Do they set expectations of what good looks like?

3. Assess the effectiveness of cross-functional collaboration and teaming within your organization.

  • Does information exchange happen easily within and across teams?
  • Is new knowledge sought out and used to improve the way teams and the organization operates?
  • Are best practices communicated effectively?
  • Is there trust within and across teams that all participants are working toward the same goal?

Organizations can no longer afford to concentrate their leadership development efforts on a few people. The new leadership paradigm expands the definition of a leader and encourages a development program that recognizes the complexities of 21st-century leadership.

Leaders “…bring together and motivate other people to accomplish more than they can on their own”. — The High-Potential Leader

Broaden your perspective of what a leader is and create a Leader Culture focused on leadership competencies required for today’s challenges (more on this in my next blog post).

If you have questions or want to discuss your leadership development strategy, I would love to chat with you.



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