Over the past decade, whilst rapid exponential progress in technology has unleashed disruptive and inspiring new opportunities for how we work and what we do, the inevitable ambiguity and uncertainty has resulted in examples of both the best and the worst kinds of leadership.
At their worst leaders operating from a position of fear have taken precisely the opposite stance to that which is needed in these times, operating from a closed, internally-focussed and hierarchical position of power, still chasing the number rather than the “why” behind an organisation’s purpose, culminating in an often toxic, stifling culture which haemorrhages talent across the board….
That’s not to say the best leaders are a bunch of Samaritans who won’t call the shots and have the tough conversations…on the contrary, they are fair and even harsh when that’s what’s needed, embracing open leadership, curiosity and collaboration and showing both humility and vulnerability, as well as the courage to admit “I don’t have all the answers so let’s figure them out together”.
My top tip for the 20s for leaders? It’s quite simple and frank – don’t be an a**ehole – people won’t respect you for it and ultimately they’ll stop following you or believing in you. Don’t be a Samaritan either – you’re still running a business, so treat your people well, respect them and the fact that they might know more than you about some things, that’s ok, in fact that’s great – encourage, enable and empower them, not through lip service but by choosing to show up every day in a way that is real, honest and human..