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There was a time when work meant digging ditches and hauling heavy stuff from one place to another. Technology has changed this definition. Work is showing up in unprecedented forms, in the forms of code lines or something else, sometimes it doesn’t show up at all until the final product comes up. With the changing nature of work, leadership qualities are changing too. HR corridors are buzzing with concerns about shortage of new-age leaders. Seth Godin, who has authored 18 books that include Linchpin and Purple Cow, says that the nature of leadership must change to match the workforce of today. The old ways of managing and directing employees like school grade children are way past us and we need to build the HR leadership around new requirements. We list a few more thoughts that he has shared on the present state of leadership.
Don’t Manage, Mentor Instead!
A lot of time employees are told to do work the way the manager wants her to do it. People work under constant fear of replacement. Godin says “People who have a job where they are waiting for instruction are stressed out of their minds because they know they are not going to have that job for long.” People don’t like to be managed but they love to be mentored. They like to take ownership of their work and lead things whenever possible.
Don’t Educate, Develop Instead!
To conduct an employee development program, the talent managers need to pick from a predefined list of skills and trainers. The employees are expected to take tests once these training are completed. She gets a rating for her performance in the test. According to Godin, this is a quintessential school style model. It has become obsolete for the current workforce and needs to be revamped.
Don’t study, Learn Instead!
Godin introduces an altMBA course which is quite different from the regular MBA courses. It is a leadership development program for the future workforce. Around 2500 candidates have participated in this course till now. To begin with it Godin has removed grades from the process. When you attach a grade to learning then the entire focus shifts to the questions that could be asked in the test and not the learning. Godin suggests to replace management with mentorship.
Future HR leadership will demand these three skills:
Soft skills: Leaders need to get over having numbers at their fingertips. Traits like empathy and emotional intelligence will be in more demand and the most important leadership quality expected out of them will be motivation.
Critical thinking: Businesses are getting riskier. The future of work will demand harder and quicker choices. HR leaders must be able to gauge and anticipate their decisions. Critical thinking will gain importance.
Change management: Changes are hard to conceive and harder to implement. While on one hand HR leaders should be innovative on the other they must have clarity on implementing those visions in practice.
Godin says “Teaching leadership involves helping people seek out responsibility so that they have a chance to enroll people to make a change happen. That is an essential part.” If you intend to be a part of future HR leadership then you must try to inculcate these new age-hr leadership qualities.