You are a leader? You are in trouble

I tested it.

On Amazon, I searched for the term ‚Leadership‘. Amazon offers me 400 pages to scroll over. Given 20+ titles per page, there’s roughly 1.000 books on leadership. 1.000! And that’s probably only the tip of the iceberg.

Obviously, there’s a lot of work being done around leadership – from science and research on behavior, traits and styles of different types of leaders, to the emergence of several new systems and methods how to lead in the future.

But why do we need New Leadership in the first place?

Taking a look into the traditional organization, then everything is built to last. Managers have designed stable organizations. Just 20 years ago it was common to define a 5 year strategy. Today, it’s required to adjust ones’ strategy annually or even quarterly, which requires a radically different approach to leadership.

Traditionally in business, it is also common to set a goal, plan and execute, as well as to control and evaluate whether goals have been achieved or not. Many leadership frameworks give advice on how to do that best. The underlying and mostly unconscious belief for all these models is that leaders ‚know best‘ or have the most experience how to successfully achieve goals – otherwise they wouldn’t be the leaders, right?

Here’s an example:

Marc has 25 years of experience in engineering machines. He runs a factory and leads 250 people in several teams. His production is up and running. He knows his market, customers, the technology etc. – he can lead that way.

But what if:

customers are suddenly moving away from buying a machine and demand ‘as a service models’?
his market is shrinking and the CEO forces him to drive digital innovation?
young talent is leaving and wants to do more ‚cool stuff‘ than selling machines?
too many rules and regulations are stopping his teams to be creative, courageous and quick to adapt to changing markets and customer needs?
That would mean Marc is in trouble.

The problem is that all the above are no longer a ‘what if’s’. These shifts are real and happening right now – and maybe you are right in the middle of them, like Marc.

Confronted with uncertainty, dynamic and increased complexity, you move into the dark and dangerous area of the unknown. No rules yet, no experience, no DIY playbook. A complex world is unfolding that requires testing, experimenting and learning to navigate through it.

Many questions arise how to approach the unknown:

How do you lead when you cannot fall back on your experience and knowledge?
How do you make others follow you through uncertainty and the dark unknown?
How do you unleash the creativity and courage of your team to innovate?
The first unknown that has to be approached is the one inside yourself.

Leading in complexity and uncertainty means getting into pioneer mode. It requires new behaviors and principles that start with yourself. Let me give you an idea for each of them that I have practiced over decades now, and which helped many other leaders to transform the way they lead themselves, other people and organisations:

1) Behaviour: Consciously reflect

This means consciously observing and questioning yourself, your beliefs and assumptions. But even more, hyper-consciously sensing changes in the world outside: emerging technologies, changed customer behavior, competitive business models, incremental opportunities.

2) Principle: Dialogue

That means eaving the hierarchy (triangle) temporarily and allow coming together in a circle, working on eye-level, allow true collaboration and build a trustful environment. Agile methods are depending on the dialogic principles since agile doesn’t thrive in command-control-environments.

There’s obviously many more principles that New Leadership is based upon. At triangility, we will share our thoughts, observations and diverse new leadership approaches with you over the next few weeks as our topic of the month. We will explore different frameworks and principles and try to get to the very essence of what you need to know to be equipped for the Future of Leadership.

With our team, we currently do some research and scientific work on the principles of New Leadership to condense them into a framework that unites the very essence of all the emeging leadership approaches. We’re excited to share this framework with you soon as part of our soon to be launched ‘New Leadership Masterclass’.

We spend time to save you time.

Learn more on our new website and follow #triangility to stay connected.