The New Age of Leadership

Companies are continuing to abandon top-down, formal reporting hierarchies and silo-based organizational models in favor of flatter, team-based structures as a means of adjusting to new demands for innovation and growth. In fact, 38% of all companies have moved away from traditional functional structures towards dynamic networks of teams, according to a recent Deloitte study.

The adoption of new organizational models alongside the growing cohort of Millennials in the workplace is making waves across the enterprise, driving changes in job roles and responsibilities, reshaping how goals are set and people rewarded, and altering the role of leaders – namely driving a need for more and different leadership skills at all levels of the organization.

Building Leadership Capabilities Deeper in the Organization.

A real challenge is facing organizations today – implementing effective leadership development to build stronger capabilities among its younger workforce and building a deeper pipeline of leadership talent. This issue is particularly urgent given the youngest of the Baby Boomer leaders will turn 61 this year, raising the importance of replacing the departure of these older leaders. As a result, organizations are realizing that if they don’t start to prepare next generation leaders for future roles now, they will face an uphill battle filling them moving forward.

Most organizations today find themselves focusing much of their development efforts on senior leader levels, rather than front-line and high-potential and emerging leaders. While it’s easy to understand why companies place greater value, consciously or unconsciously, on senior leaders, the reality is a company’s success depends primarily on the depth of high performers within the organization. This reality is driving the need for more foundational leadership development programs among younger, lower and mid-level workers.

Therefore, organizations need to be much more strategic in their use of the limited time and money they can put toward learning and development. Senior leadership development needs to be focused on changing behaviors and building new competencies to lead in the digital age – focusing on team-based collaboration, innovation and rapid change – while emerging leaders require a broad foundation of leadership skills earlier in their leadership journey.

This effort is particularly critical when you consider the high cost of poor leadership and management. In fact, a high percentage – about half – of all new leaders fail on the job. And, the impact doesn’t stop there. Consider these findings from a recent Harvard Business report:

  • About one-third of an organization’s employee turnover can be avoided through better leadership.
  • Poor leadership practices cost companies an amount equal to 8% of annual revenues.
  • 32% of an organization’s employee turnover can be avoided through better leadership.
  • Better leadership can generate a 3%-4% improvement in customer satisfaction.
  • Most organizations operate with a 5%-10% productivity drag that better leadership practices can eliminate.1

The 7 Competencies Required for Digital Age Leadership.

For organizations seeking to revamp and modernize their leadership development programs, investing in solutions that are proven, science-backed and data-based is paramount. Development solutions must build leadership skills for the modern day and are able to be applied at all levels of the organization in a cost-effective and engaging manner.

XBInsight has conducted extensive research and collected data from leaders across more than 50 industries and have identified seven “Super Competencies” tied directly to leadership performance and success. Simply put, these competencies are the “foundation” of leadership success in today’s digital age and can be applied to leaders and emerging leaders across the organization.

These types of assessments and development solutions are a smarter way to identify what skills leaders and potential leaders have, what training or development they may need, and what guidance will keep them motivated to succeed.

Delivering More Engaging, Accessible and Scalable Leadership Development Opportunities.

Beyond understanding how key leadership competencies have evolved given today’s business landscape, it is equally critical to adapt to changing expectations about how development content is delivered. Fueled by a growing Millennial cohort, effective development solutions need to be efficient, engaging and scalable.

Organizations should look to leadership assessments and development solutions that offer:

  • A more meaningful, genuine and fun approach to self-discovery
  • A more engaging user experience, leading to greater participation and satisfaction rates
  • Customized results and instant feedback that feels personalized
  • Science-backed competency and development data specific to users’ specific roles and industries
  • A more cost-effective method to develop leaders through scalable solutions
  • Better identify future leaders earlier in their careers.

While leadership skills aren’t exactly tangible, the impact of leadership performance is quite quantifiable. In fact, several studies have found a close correlation between the skills of a company’s leaders and market performance. Given today’s fast-changing, innovation-led business landscape, organizations can’t ignore the importance of implementing effective leadership development to build stronger capabilities across all levels of the enterprise.