It’s been known for a while now that command and control leadership is in most cases ineffective. Many leaders and organizational cultures are still struggling with this transition to a more mature understanding of what makes work happen well. You hear comments like:
“Not everyone can be a leader.”
“I wish we had time for innovation, but my job is to make sure the work gets done.”
“I’m sick of my newer employees constantly trying to change things. Do it my way first – I know what I’m doing! I’ve been doing this a long time!”
We’ve heard each and every one of these comments from smart, well-meaning and kindhearted managers. And, we get it. Let this article serve as a bit of a wake up call – the emerging organizational leadership landscape will weed out and roll past organizational leaders that remain in this style – as well meaning as it is.
According to Deloitte, “The average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company has declined from 75 years, a half a century ago, to less than 15 years today.“ And that pattern continues to accelerate.
What’s separates the winners from the losers? According to Morten Hansen, Management Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and INSEAD, it’s leadership.
A new breed of successful leader is emerging
A strategic/forward thinking progress enabler who knows how to help others adapt and thrive during change. These leaders can be anywhere within an organization and aren’t always in formal leadership roles. This new type of leader is disruptive to the status quo; they aren’t afraid to show that they care about people and our planet (and of course, profits too – duh). They have triple-bottom-line in their moral code. They’re savvy at rallying others. They’re public about their desire to make a positive difference, and are willing to work hard to achieve it.
However, there are still those that are concerned about the effectiveness of this style. And it shows up as gator brain thinking – fear of change and new ideas. It shows up as progress obstructionism. Unconscious perhaps – but a negative impact to the future bottom-line nonetheless. These people simply want the company to continue to be as it’s always been. The way it has been successful, in the past. They will (sometimes knowingly) try to sabotage efforts, thinking that they are protecting the company and its people.
Savvy “New Breed Leaders” are embracing a set of values which help to keep them resilient as they experience these resistant forces.
The Innovator’s Values: Aligning the Hearts & Minds of New Breed Leaders
Forward thinking leaders aren’t primarily focused on “keeping people from screwing up,” they are driven to help people be their innovative best, to help them to be great! In fact, sometimes they let people “screw up” so that they can learn and adapt. The old guard calls it a costly mistake. The new, fast prototyping. You can read more about the value of the second approach in our article, Learning or Failing? The Value of Making Mistakes.
As we investigate these steadily effective folks, we see they share core values that are reflected in their behaviors. When you spot these leaders inspiring productively innovative thinking, you’ll likely see these 6 values on display:
You can learn more about living by these values in Do You Have What it Takes to be an Innovation Leader?
Not Reckless – Strategically Adaptable
Forward thinking leaders will constantly need to challenge their own perspectives, to explore data and trends and to collaborate well with others. Their balance of heart and mind helps to anchor and to unite people even when everything is changing. When we end our ride around the sun on planet Earth, few of us will evaluate our lives based on how we did in our income-earning pursuits. We’ll consider how we treated the people in our lives. We’ll want to know we left the world a better place for having been here. Leaning on the Innovator’s Values will help you be great with people at work, home and in your community. Share this writing. Have a discussion with your peers, boss and reports about how you might energize these values. Invite “integrinators” to hold you to them when you’re weak. There. You’re a New Breed Leader. Boom.
“He makes me a better father.”
~Colonel Kevin O’Connor, US Army, Joe Biden’s personal physician, who’s traveled everywhere with Biden since he took office in 2009, admiring Joe’s value driven leadership skills.