Boss’s time up

The acceleration of technological advancements and digitisation is making companies around the globe scramble to get equipped for what the future threatens to unfold. Among other things, this has increased the expectations from leadership. The future of a company relies on its leaders. This was always known, but what is new is that there is little choice left about the nature of leadership that will help a business survive let alone thrive. In simpler times, leadership entailed being on top of the hierarchy, projecting authority and making decisions without the need to consult the team. A good leader essentially was a boss. Where your team respected and feared you and towed the line. Today, leadership has turned into more of a science than before.

Conventionally, there are 3 types of leadership styles, each with its own set of benefits and set-backs. The Autocratic Leader – leads, makes decisions alone and expects the team to follow. Resented but tends to take charge. The Democratic Leader – cultivates a team of motivated, efficient and confident talent. The Laissez Faire style in which the leader lets the team operate without interference from the boss. This could lead to a loss of shared vision and growth.

The main requirement from a leader, until a few years ago, was their deep experience in their domain and years served within the company which ensured a thorough familiarity with the company ethos. Today these qualities most likely weigh you down. Today we need training in unlearning and upskilling and developing an outsider’s perspective with a fresh approach to catalyze the necessary re-think in work-flows and strategies within the organisation. The most valuable skill today across levels, including for company leaders, is the ability for empathy, connection and collaboration. A good leader will still inspire and guide. But what the workforce finds inspiring in today’s world has undergone a change.

As per the 2023 Deloitte global Gen Z and millennial report, by 2030, Gen Z is expected to form 30% of the global workforce. Being the original digital natives makes them the most sought after employer cohort and given that they are the most picky when it comes to employers and what they receive from their jobs, companies are re-considering the role of leaders on employee engagement, employee retention, and profitability.

Today, playing boss instantly invites disrespect. Whereas a leader who is collaborative and communicative is deeply admired. But, the core reason for investing in leadership training for your organisation is not just to earn employee admiration. It is to help your business maintain an edge in an increasingly challenging business and marketing environment. A leader can make or break a company’s work culture and in a world where innovative solutions, no matter what the domain is no longer an option, a work culture conducive to a free flow of ideas from across levels and departments is non-negotiable.

The current scenario has put the spotlight on more theories of leadership such as the ‘Servant Leadership Theory’, which dates to the 1970s. This theory argues that leaders have a duty to focus primarily on meeting their team needs rather than on their own for the larger good of the organisation.

With evidence to show that the future work-force will be led by Gen Z who have demonstrated their individualistic nature and tendency to work on their own terms, if your style as a leader borders on autocratic, then that’s another skill to unlearn and upskill – future-ready leadership. Business success in the years to come, will depend on the rate at which we replace all traces of bossy leadership with democratic and servant styles of leadership.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Nair
Pooja Nair has over 20 years of experience as a branding consultant across leading global Ad consultancies. Pooja is also known to be an ex theater performer, actress and model. Since September, 2022, she has focussed completely on her passion for the changing face of business, brand-building and reputation.

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