Essential skills for new-age leaders to thrive in the fast-evolving business landscape

By : |February 13, 2020 0

The business landscape today is at the center of rapid technological advancements, fast-changing market trends and rising interventions in the form of geopolitical events. This is creating a complex and adaptive environment that is impacting the community and the world at large.

To succeed in this competitive landscape, both the business leaders and their workforce must operate at their peak potential by identifying the potential gaps and aligning their actions towards the vision of a dynamic trade market.

Need for an upskilling revolution to adapt to the changing nature of work

Amid the blurring boundaries between the physical and digital world, a major transformation in business processes can be witnessed on the back of largescale technological adoption. Nearly 133 million new jobs will be created by 2025 through innovative technologies, as estimated by the World Economic Forum in its report on ‘The Future of Jobs’.

Clearly, many new and lucrative job opportunities are waiting for professionals. However, considering the roles will be extremely tech-centric, individuals will have to be more flexible in learning and adapt to newer skills to stay relevant in this fast-evolving game.

In the world of reskilling, operating with a growth mindset, intending to service others and empowering them to perform tasks on their own will be the key aspects that will define a true leader. This will further allow them to take risks and stand apart from others.

Challenging preconceptions to emerge as a true leader

In this complex business environment, there are several types of unconscious biases that have been ingrained in the minds of the leaders, distracting their judgment and decision-making ability. These biases can hinder hiring, performance assessment, promotion planning, innovation and formation of high-performing teams. Here are some of them that leaders must overcome to succeed and sustain in the uncertain business ecosystem.

Facts and Information biases- To disrupt the trends, leaders must have a concrete vision and be familiar with the necessary facts to support that vision. There might be numerous individuals talking about multiple ideas but only a true leader would be able to execute them meaningfully by stepping out of their comfort zone and collaborating with their team to strive for innovation.

Confirmation Bias – This kind of prejudice basically exists because of people who tend to seek information that approves their existing beliefs and they usually tend to gather facts to validate their belief even if it’s not beneficial. Such type of bias can obstruct their performance and also prevent them from making the right decision as the objectivity gets blurred. The worst is, they are extremely difficult to overcome since no one prefers admitting that they’re wrong.

Egocentric bias – This is yet another mental predisposition that causes individuals to profoundly rely on their own point of view. They believe that they know it all and are always right, harming their objectivity. This refrains them from considering the other person’s perspective and either they start underestimating others’ viewpoints or start ignoring them altogether. Such bias does more harm than good and mistakes are bound to happen in this case.

Blindspot – Pinpointing others’ flaws and turning a blind eye to one’s own is a common tendency among human beings. Unfortunately, this simply distorts the perception of reality, leading to faulty decisions made by business leaders.

To rise above all these biases, the leadership position holders need to adopt a mindset brimming with the ‘5 As’– Awareness, Acceptance, Authenticity, Adaptability, and Affability. This will enable them to have an edge over their competitors and create a high-performing team of professionals who love their jobs.

Here’s an in-depth look at the ‘5 As’

Awareness: Being mindful about your current reality against the perceived one and challenging your self-limiting beliefs that hinder your growth is extremely significant. One should also be aware of the present business environment and the efforts required to make the shift towards success.

Acceptance: Accepting reality and proceeding without false assumptions lets you focus all your energy into your current task and you can maximize your chances of performing and leading well. It isn’t about passive acceptance of the situation but using the current information and new knowledge to move ahead.

Authenticity: In a business landscape, there is no place for the disguised. One needs to operate with authenticity. After all, it is a fact that all of us are imperfectly perfect and we all have blind areas. So, try to master and influence your existing strengths and figure out ways further build on them.

Adaptability and agility: Be open to learning new skills, and fostering a growth mindset. Since machines are getting smarter, it is significant for the leaders to befriend machines and not fear that automation could take over their jobs. Automated machines are simply removing the need to perform repetitive and redundant tasks.

Professionals can now focus on meaningful, creative work that adds value. For that, they will have to acquire innovative skills in the field of machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, data science, etc. Thus, leaders must focus on honing their skillset while training their teams as well.

Affability: Fostering collaboration and developing trustworthy relationships with employees, colleagues, and the team is extremely crucial for any business leader. While it will be necessary for people to work in sync with technology, they should also develop specialized interpersonal skills to interact with each other.

For any individual and organization to stay ahead in the game, being open to learning and development must become the new custom. Meanwhile, leaders are also required to learn new skills and unlearn habits that could be restrictive in nature. So, if next time statements like ‘Machines will take away my job’ are heard, focus on your positive thoughts and actions because it is all about the mindset. The trick to thriving in this age of complexity is to embrace the change and become rationally flexible.

   Ms.Shalini Bhattacharya, Founder & Leadership Coach,White Ray Coaching

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