When it comes to the future of the workplace, the only safe prediction is to say that it will be different from today—more different than most of us can imagine. Fundamental forces are compelling organisations to rethink what they need from their leaders:
The future workplace is transparent
Information and expertise are being captured and shared in new ways. Sites such as GlassDoor and Indeed tip prospective employees off to the true culture of an organisation before they even apply.
There is no time to waste in supporting the high talent employees you hope will one day lead your organisation.
Communication no longer flows solely through the lines on the organisational chart, and with the increase of direct exchanges between senior leadership and workers at every level, via internal social media networks and town hall meetings, workers decide for themselves whether they can trust senior leaders and have confidence in the direction they are taking their organisation.
Teams matter more than ever
The work of the future is being accomplished by teams—composites of humans, machines and artificial intelligence—that form and disband as needed. Effective, trust-based, working relationships must form quickly to enable a team to be effective. The hierarchy is supplanted by a network of teams, enabled to take risks. This type of agile collaboration requires a special kind of environment to thrive, and leaders at every level of an organisation have important roles in creating it.
Individual employees expect to advance rapidly, too
Young employees are driven to learn and achieve, and they want to do so with organisations they can be proud of, whose principles and values align with their own. And if they don't find the opportunities they're seeking with one company, they'll look elsewhere—more than 70% of respondents from India in our recent survey expect to be looking for a new job within the year.
At the intersection of these forces lie leadership teams, which must successfully manage the business of today and position their organisations for tomorrow. They must increasingly be willing to step aside and let younger workers acquire and exercise their own leadership skills—or risk losing them.
That means a shift in focus for today's leadership development. There is no time to waste in supporting the high talent employees you hope will one day lead your organisation. Plan now to help them gain the insight and skills they need to learn to create positive and productive work environments, in addition to their technical, innovative and strategic abilities.
The future is happening fast. It's time to accelerate the development of tomorrow's leaders.