The role of a leader has always been challenging. Leaders are directly accountable for the success or failure of an organization, department, or team. This responsibility will always be the most important part of their job.

However, while a leader’s overarching responsibility has not changed, the way they fulfill their role has. This is because the knowledge, skills, and abilities leaders need to be successful have changed because of the way the workplace has evolved. While leaders will inevitably need different qualities and characteristics, depending on their industry, function, and job level, there are seven important behaviors all leaders will need over the next decade to be successful.

Specifically, in today’s environment, leaders must:

  • • Leverage cross-functional collaboration to solve dynamic problems
  • • Be comfortable sharing decision-making responsibilities
  • • Be open to communication changes
  • • Demonstrate integrity and maintain emotional discipline
  • • Be serial masters continually developing expertise across domains
  • • Implement agile execution based on rapid iteration
  • • Be technologically savvy and have an interest in pushing innovation

It is critical that leaders leverage these behaviors to optimize the value their organization delivers. Below is more detailed information about the seven behaviors and the rationale as to why they will be so valuable moving forward.


Leverage Cross-functional Collaboration to Solve Dynamic Problems

Business silos involve departments working completely independent from one another, creating major barriers to communication, innovation, and productivity. When companies have business silos, information is only shared on a need-to-know basis. This degrades the overall vitality of an organization and reduces productivity and employee morale. Leaders who have business silos place a priority on department and team goals over company objectives and large-scale initiatives.

Business silos were a common practice many years ago, and companies could typically function adequately with them. This is no longer true in today’s economy. The complexity of the workplace and matrixed environment that is now commonplace in almost every organization requires you to be able to merge resources and collaborate with other departments to be effective. Cross-functional collaboration creates synergies and produces collective success that ultimately generates competitive advantage, while simultaneously eliminating unnecessary work and excessive lag time.

Yet there are still some leaders who believe business silos are practical. They don’t like the way collaboration and integration make work more intricate. They prefer to have their operation run without interference. Similarly, some leaders pride themselves on holding onto information and only sharing when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t want to let go of the hold they have on their department, because they believe they will suddenly lose power (and control) if they do. Both of these types of leaders will invariably produce worse results than those who are capable of leveraging cross-functional collaboration. The world is too complex to maintain this archaic management style. To have an effective organization, leaders must be able to bring employees together and blend talents effectively.

Moving forward, all products, services, tools, technologies, lines of business, departments, teams, clients, and colleagues are going to become increasingly integrated, making it necessary to be able to leverage synergies and employ dynamic solutions to complex problems. Knowing how to get things done through formal and informal channels across the organization is paramount. Leaders who can collaborate with others and make timely, well-informed decisions to achieve collective goals will successfully advance organizational priorities, capitalize on new opportunities, and resolve problems quicker and more efficiently. They will also be lauded by their organization. Those who cannot do this will inevitably fade into obscurity.

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