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The future of leadership

Author: Tim Taylor

As the 21st century unfolds, we can all see the possibilities ahead.  Technology will continue to influence how we work and live our lives.

Driverless cars, Google glass and robots at home and in our offices will be commonplace.  Almost everyone will be online and data collection and analytics from our online activity will produce a more customized digital experience for each of us.

As technological advancements continue to change the way we work, so will the future of leadership.

  The way we interact has changed dramatically over the past decade and will continue to change in the future and with that, three very dominate leadership characteristics will emerge:




Our life experiences will be more important than ever in how we show up at work. Paradoxically, the great “I am” will build stronger teams. Leadership will be a team, not an individual, capability.


Self-image and self-esteem have always been challenging components of leadership.  What is too much, or too little?  What is arrogance vs. confidence?  How can I be myself and be accepted?  Future leadership development processes must resource people with strategies to address these questions.

Employing all of our life experiences into our leadership will become even more essential and desirable. To maintain healthy self-esteem, we, as leaders, will need to hone the ability to recognize and master transition points in our lives as we continue to navigate major upheaval to the status quo, as the status quo.
“I am” will become a significant assertion in the future because mankind has never been more connected, exposed or vulnerable.   Most people are living online, posting their life for others to share, enjoy and judge.  The crowd effect is stronger than ever making it essential and yet more difficult to remain strongly individual.

Maintaining a clear self-image is important because it is the building block of great teamwork.  Knowing that you are important enough to deserve a better result from participating in a team is the idea that will give you the courage to step in when a leadership gap appears. The ability to fluidly navigate the needs of self and other is a skill which requires finesse and continuous calibration – a healthy appreciation of one’s own skills, competencies and needs and those of others and the wider environment, a holistic outlook and approach.


Social media means that collaboration is an integral part of how things get done.  Today, the majority of the tasks accomplished are in the realm of social activities, parties, meetings, support etc.  In the future, this will shift more to business projects utilizing cloud based applications and platforms such as Innovo, Ariba and LinkedIn.

Leadership is changing from individual ability to team capability.

All team members will have to learn how to recognize leadership gaps when they appear, especially in heated exchanges between members, and step in with an appropriate action or challenge.   If truly complex problems are to be solved, the team must have a deep understanding of and be genuinely invested in collaboration and how to best achieve it.
The diversity dynamic will become more challenging because abdicating responsibility for decisions to “the boss” will be less successful or desirable. This will force teams to confront differences such as:

  • Western managers like to talk it through, while those from the east like to listen and reflect – one is seen, as taking action and the other is seen as not acting – this perspective is the same from both sides.
  • In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality. Do men doubt themselves sometimes? Of course, but they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do.
  • Digital Natives – the new workforce generation, believe in seeking several opinions and approaches to a problem. Boomers have a “My way or the highway” attitude derived from a work ethic which demanded decisiveness in problem solving.
  • Older workers believe that they should be left alone to manage a task, Digital natives prefer feedback, accepting hands-on supervisor. This approach often leads Boomers in management to believe that these employees need constant supervision.


Team members will share leadership seamlessly because leadership will reside less in an individual and more in “Ideas” that teams support.   Ideas are the new currency.  Leadership strength will come from being able to recognize valuable ideas and the ability to coalesce the “right” people to develop these ideas into executable businesses.

No more, one genius and a thousand helpers. The new order will be a thousand geniuses with leadership capabilities and dynamic teams using social collaboration.

This will require a reset of the “power” paradigm. Privileges, rewards, recognition, social status and systemic constructs will all be recast. This is a change of monumental proportions that should not be underestimated if we are to continue to build successful organizations.

"Power: the ability to control or coerce
Privilege: an invisible package of unearned assets"
Peggy McIntosh

The author, Tim Taylor (, is a visionary learning professional.  From Belfast's Art College to becoming an alumni of the Harvard Business School, his journey in creating the Making Great Leaders Programme has been one of passion, learning and accomplishment.

His Programme will:

  • provide you with invaluable feedback about yourself;
  • enable you to critically evaluate your team, stakeholders & network;
  • provide you with tried and tested tools to:
  • evaluate your effectiveness as a leader,
  •  build your vision for the future,
  •  ensure that you make the best use of your team,
  • look at the value you create
  • equip you to cascade skills into your management team.
  • In short, you will have all that you need to move from "getting paid for what you know to getting paid for the value you create".

The Programme is a process designed for managers who are serious about making a sea-change in their career. If you want to improve your leadership and are willing to meet the challenges that you will face creating a new space for yourself, this is the Programme for you.

Visit to register for the Programme.

Tagged under: leadership, learning

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