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Digital Age Requires New Leadership Styles

One of the more thought-provoking papers I have read in a while on leadership and how leadership needs to change.  The world has changed with pervasive digital, employees who want a different form of leadership and customers who have access to information not only about your products but also your culture and behaviours.  With all of the information, data, networking, employee preferences to name a few the type of leadership styles we need are more varied and need to be fit for purpose for the relevant point in the business lifecycle.

Barry Libert recently published in the World Economic Forum this thought provoking article.  The article had many interesting points, but to me, the most interesting were the four different categories of leadership styles.

Collaborator – leadership in a world where products, services are created hand-in-hand with customers and employees.

Commander – leadership sets a goal and tells others how to accomplish those goals.  The style is most suited for very commoditised factory produced goods where there is no value in innovation or change.

Communicator – the leader sets the vision and the plan so the employees know which direction the firm is going.  This style encourages action but not innovation.

Co-Creator – allows employees/stakeholders to pursue their goals in parallel with the organisational goals. Uber would be an example of this where individuals can be Uber drivers but at the same time have other activities and employment.

Leadership Styles - Picture from Article

Not that one is good or bad, it is more about having the right leadership style and approach for the business life cycle and type of business.  It could also be used to help ensure that when hiring leaders that if your organisation needs more Communicator type style that you don’t hire someone who has strong co-creator skills.

Posted On : 20-03-16

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