As society changes, so does the style of leadership that works best. In the business world, those in the position of guiding and training leaders and managers must understand the changing business trends that will impact the leaders they're training. From changing the focus of education to embracing the power of mobile even within leadership roles, these are some of the trends coming to management in the 2020’s.
Trend 1 – Focus on Continual Learning
In the past, many businesses tried to train their managers with a one-time-only approach to leadership training. They created in-house training programs and pushed their managerial team through, only to stop their training once they finished this program. By pushing their leadership through these programs, they hoped to cultivate lasting leadership qualities that would fuel success. This is changing.
“Effective leadership in 2020 and the foreseeable future will require a substantial fervor for learning throughout the organization to successfully pivot in anticipation of the unpredictable nature of external forces that organizations are experiencing,” said Johnson & Wales professor and online instructor Scott Lyon’s Ed.D.
While in-house training is good and helpful, leaders do not retain all of what they learn. Continual education is necessary to ensure these professionals retain the leadership qualities they learn. Companies around the world invest over $300 billion in their leadership development programs, and continual education ensures more of that investment is retained. “When organizational leaders place a greater value on talent development and effort through continual learning initiatives, they are cultivating what is known as ‘growth mindset,’” Lyons added.
To help create continual learning experiences, Forbes estimates that 94% of companies are planning to increase their leadership training budgets. This is giving potential leaders increasing opportunities to grow and expand their skill sets.
Trend 2 – Increased Need to Lead a Remote Workforce
In today’s world the workforce is becoming increasingly remote with approximately 66% of companies allowing remote work experiences. Managers are often leading teams that work a part or all of their jobs from home or on the road. With the decade beginning with the COVID-19 pandemic, remote-working became a necessity for many industries. “The COVID19 pandemic crisis challenged the resistance from many organizations to embrace remote working and manage engagement and accountability differently,” said Lyons.
Leaders must find ways to build and maintain trusting relationships with their team members, create clear communication, and support the remote work environment in a positive manner. Lyons explained that organizations must “require strategic leadership to ensure employees feel valued and empowered to stay home and work remotely when it is appropriate to do so.” They must find creative ways to get their team members face-to-face, either digitally or through in-person meetups, in order to foster the right company culture.
Trend 3 – Increased Culture of Accountability
With the growth of a mobile workforce, a need for greater accountability will also grow. Leadership will need to cultivate a culture of accountability among their teams because they will not have the benefit of coming into the office to oversee work. “It is essential that organizational leaders expand upon their traditional measures of employee performance such as attendance, communication and leadership effectiveness,” Lyons explained.
As such, accountability and transparency are buzzwords in business right now, and leaders will need to both offer transparency to their teams and increase accountability required from their teams in order to find success.
Trend 4 – More Females in Leadership
Women in leadership is a continuing leadership trend. Women are rising to leadership roles at a higher rate than ever before. Last year, 29% of senior management roles were held by women, and this trend is expected to continue. Interestingly, a firm that has at least 30% of its leadership team made up of women expects to see greater profits than a firm that has no female leadership, so this is a trend that impacts businesses positively.
Trend 5 – Mobile Learning Growing in Popularity
Today's leaders are taking to technology to expand their knowledge base. Mobile learning, for example, is growing in popularity. “The surge of online degree programs offered by colleges and universities for working professionals has served as an advantage for organizations seeking to set themselves ahead of the rest for discretionary benefits,” Lyons said.
Online degree programs, even MBA and other high-level degrees, allow management professionals to learn wherever they are, and companies are creating tailor-made learning programs that are mobile-friendly to help train their in-house leaders on the go. The flexibility and learning format works well for many which is why it continues to grow in popularity.
Trend 6 – Managing Multiple Generations
Today's workforce spans multiple generations. It's not uncommon to see Millennials working alongside, and potentially leading, Baby Boomers and Generation Xers. In fact, Forbes estimates many workplaces are now spanning five generations.
This multi-generational workforce makes a number of different leadership styles necessary in order to reach various people on teams. Often, people in staggering generational groups communicate differently, and leaders must learn how to communicate across generations. For example, a Millennial employee may prefer to communicate over text or instant message rather than a face-to-face meeting, because the time for face-to-face meetings impacts their productivity. A Baby Boomer in leadership may mistake this for indifference or poor communication skills when in fact it helps the worker be more productive.
Trend 7 – Leadership Migrating to Teams
Finally, expect to see leadership moving from single leaders to teams of leadership. Managing technology, multiple generations, and changing leadership education means many leadership roles make modern leadership roles too much for one individual to handle on their own. Thus, leadership teams are taking center stage. In addition, leaders will start focusing on collective decision making within the organizational structure, rather than individual decision-makers.
This is an exciting time in the business world, and one characterized by many changing leadership trends. Do you have the right leadership qualities to make an impact in your industry? Perhaps the right training is all you need. Take your leadership skills to the next level by earning your bachelor’s degree in leadership studies or your MBA - Organizational Leadership online from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].