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The past year has been a dramatic vortex for any Senior Leader. COVID-19 accelerated changes that were already reshaping the workplace, including digitization, remote working, distributed workforces, asynchronous and virtual collaboration, and reskilling and upskilling. In our work with senior teams, we have witnessed and experienced dramatic change on all fronts.

This article summarises the top 5 trends we see emerging for Leaders on the path to Extraordinary competence.

1.Leadership Agility

Never before has the acronym VUCA been so applicable than in the 2022 year. We refer to the word “Vortex” above because this seems to best describe how many CEOs are behaving. The need for increasing speed and pace, together with change all around from multiple spaces, is increasingly dynamic. The tourism industry has coined the phrase “revenge tourism” to describe the nature of change in people “catching up” with their travel ambitions. The same can be said for the style used by many C-suite executives and their approach  of “getting back to business” …Revenge Leadership.

Our concern with the vortex analogy is that the force pulls downwards. Agile leadership is needed to prevent these forces shaping organisational performance!

2.Leadership Purpose

 It is probably true to say that before the 2020 Covid crisis, purpose was purely lip service and only reflected in fancy Mission statements on company walls. This has now changed. We have seen much deeper questions being asked about:

  • The True company purpose
  • The real role CEOs need to play in guiding organisations
  • Employees rebalancing important priorities in their work life spectrum

These deep questions are translating into real challenges for all stakeholders.

3. Leadership disconnection

The Revenge Leadership dynamic , together, specifically with employee purpose revisiting, has been manifest in a distancing of C-suite executives from their employees. This is best witnessed in the tortuous and fractious debates on the Hybrid work model in many organisations. Furthermore, the challenges of real employee engagement with virtual work teams adds extra pressures on all.

We particularly see this manifest in a distancing with their HR Colleagues. At a point in time when there is a dire need for tighter collaboration with the HR leaders, we see a wider gap in practice. The result is  poorer leadership …. especially when the circumstances demand far better leadership!

4. Leadership innovation

Innovation in all facets is now not an option for CEOs, it is mandatory. The rapid evidence of Big Data, AI and digital are already swamping us. In our view, it is not a question of should we innovate, but a question of how fast, and to best competitive advantage. We experience a reluctance to actively embrace innovation, leading to total reaction to competitor initiatives.

A key success criterion is learning to select, appoint and integrate Game Changing into the business model. Our experience is that this is culturally extremely difficult and requires a higher level of Leadership competence.

5. Leadership with Strategic intent

With the advent of revenge Leadership, purpose realignment, leadership disconnection and poor innovation, there was never more of a need to have competent strategic leadership. We witness however , a dearth of competent strategic leadership. What many people refer to as strategy is unfortunately pure operational planning dressed in strategic new buzzwords!

These 5 Trends seen in our daily work, indicate a dire need for dramatically different and better leadership competency. In our view, this leadership needs to pivot on Leaders being Reflectively Agile …..This needs to be our key focus in 2023.

How to dramatically grow our Reflective agility at scale.