What do you believe are the leadership themes and challenges for 2024? This is a question I have been asked by clients over the past 3 weeks, so here’s my response.
Our notions of leadership are changing
‘The 21st Century definition of good leadership is yet to be defined. Our data sets and competency matrix are outdated’. This declaration was made by David Reimer, CEO The ExCo Group in the opening discussion of the 2023 Neuroleadership Summit in New York. He maintains the challenges we face now are more complex (both at an individual job role and an organisational context), and research indicates that ‘employees are expecting different things from leaders than organisations expect’.
I am seeing this too. Our ideas of what good leadership is are changing, and the model we have is outdated. I think this is also context dependent, including contexts of geography, sector and organisation.
The increased focus on psychological safety is both important and welcome. I have some concern that we might forget that as leaders we need courage. Leadership is not always safe! We need to create safety for others while also displaying psychological bravery in the way we show up.
Carol Dweck’s research and writing about fixed and growth mindset still resonates. Our skills are not ‘fixed’ – we can learn. It’s important for leaders to believe and model this, and create environments where their people can do the same. (I am currently reading Dr Amy Edmonson’s ‘Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well’, which fits nicely with growth mindset. More about this in a future blog.)
We have so much information! Leaders need to be able to ‘read’ the themes and make sense of these so they can respond. We need sensemaking skills at the individual level, and then the ability to call on teams to collectively make sense of our challenges and opportunities.
Burnout is a big issue – for leaders especially. I see burnout in my client base and beyond – happened, happening, or at risk of…
This necessitates a focus on wellbeing and maintaining resilience – Self care for leaders, and for leaders to ensure others are cared for caring for themselves and each other.
Our understanding of diversity and inclusion continues to develop, and what was acceptable two years ago in many instances isn’t acceptable now. I believe this will continue to evolve. Understanding, including and leveraging neuro diverse thinking is possibly the newest frontier in terms of what I am hearing and reading, as well as my own experience with leadership teams.
NB: How long have we been working on gender equity for women and still not where we should be??? Australia’s national gender pay gap is 13 per cent (May 2023)* and only 10.5 per cent of ASX 200 CEOs are women**.
Full stop. How do we use it to help us, organisationally and as individual leaders? And what are the risks?
How to do hybrid well continues to be a focus for many of my clients, and it may take a number of years to work through this. Our pre-Covid model of the office took 100-ish years to evolve. While perhaps it’s a separate question, I think if we could address the questions, opportunities and challenges above, this one would fade. I think it’s more a symptom than a problem.
I am curious what you see as key leadership issues for 2024. If you think I have missed things, please send me your ideas.
Go Fearlessly – Corrinne
VUCA originated in the US Army after the Cold War, and more recently, an additional C has been added: Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, Complex, Ambiguous. (Sound like your world???)
*The ABS data gender pay gap
**Women leading ASX 200 companies today