Leadership of the Future

Which aspects and skills will become particularly relevant for leadership in the future? The online seminar entitled “Transformation Journey,” by Handelsblatt Fachmedien, begins today and offers a good overview. autenticon is represented in the seminar under the topic of resilience.

August 24, 2020

by Maren Borggräfe

Leadership in settings characterized by VUCA requires additional competencies and skills. We have grown more aware of this as a result of the coronavirus crisis. But which ones exactly? And how can I quickly acquire what I still lack among the necessary attitudes, knowledge, and tools in times in which HR-development budgets are being cut and external coaches and consultants are too expensive? The future begins today; the sooner managers are fit to face the new challenges, the more reliably they will be able to assist their teams and organizations through the massive upheaval we are currently experiencing.

The proposals for the “skill set for the manager of the future” in the “Transformation Journeys” bridge the gap between the often hard-to-reconcile tasks of providing safety and guidance and building trust, on the one hand, and responding quickly and with innovative solutions to unforeseen challenges on the other. This tension is one of the strongest ambivalences managers already have to deal with today.

Developing a leadership personality

Being able to moderate this ambivalence well requires psychological knowledge, one’s own inner strength and resilience as well as a clear orientation around one’s own values, empathy, and communication skills. On the other hand, this also entails creating suitable structures and developing a supportive culture within which trusting and agile cooperation can occur to begin with. And above all, it calls for authentic leaders who consistently practice the things they expect of their team members.

So, it will not suffice to just attend an online course on scrum and design thinking if you want to be able to lead in a solid and agile way in settings characterized by VUCA. Managers are called upon to put their own attitudes and behaviors to the test, to explore themselves and their own ideas of leadership in depth – and to do so not just once, but continuously. Preparing for the new leadership tasks involves more than the pure conveying of knowledge or the filling of the famous toolbox; it also involves developing a leadership personality – a very individual process that also thrives on the right assistance, a successful blend of nudging and challenging, mirroring and reflection, support, and encouragement.


Learning on the job

How can this be achieved in the heat of day-to-day business dealings that are currently subject to constant reorganization in so many areas, with great uncertainty as to whether the next in-person seminar can even be held, and in the face of tight budgets for coaching and continuing education? A good way to achieve this is through self-organized learning as part of a network with the support of a learning app. This way, learning occurs not (only) in the laboriously cleared window of time in a seminar (whether online or offline), but whenever and wherever the user wishes, in the precise setting in which these skills can be used and practiced: In the workplace. With little added effort, whether financial or in terms of time, the app can provide learning content tailored to the precise situation at hand. Learners are independent of one another and yet together on the path to learning. They can offer one another feedback and recognition as they compare notes and support each other. Learning apps with networking capability are particularly suitable for a collective change of attitude and behavior.
Regardless of the formats involved, relationships with instructors and co-learners are crucial to lasting acquisition of the competencies and skills that tomorrow’s leadership requires. Working together, in productive resonance with others, makes me more open to experimenting with what I have learned – and thus more open to new experiences with a lasting impact.

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