Leadership Matters for 2015 and Beyond

Leadership Matters for 2015 and Beyond

Between February and May 2015, we interviewed 23 business leaders and HR/L&D professionals based in Europe, the Americas and Asia and asked: "What are the most important leadership development topics for 2015 and beyond?"  

Out of 30+ different insights, four distinct leadership styles emerged:  

Agile Leadership: Adaptable and Entrepreneurial

In order to better deal with uncertainty and complexity, leaders need to become more agile intellectually (able to think and draw conclusions quickly) and socially (able to connect with others easily). They need to be able to see opportunities where there were none before, resolve dilemmas through a dynamic and non-linear process that emphasises 'both/and' rather than 'either/or', to think the unthinkable,  and to manage ambiguity through seeing the organisation from a holistic point of view, where everyone is interconnected and interdependent.  

Horizontal Leadership: Control versus Autonomy

In today's heavily regulated environment of corporate governance and compliance, leaders need to balance monitoring performance with giving people the freedom to flourish. Making the shift from vertical leadership (hierarchy, command and control) to horizontal leadership (inclusive, participative, trust-based) will not only increase engagement and commitment from employees at all levels, it is particularly important for the retention of new generations as well as for global leaders who need to manage performance virtually.  

Relationship-oriented Leadership: Meaningful and Quality Interactions

Due to the pace of change, leaders are struggling to make time for deeper dialogue, emotional connections, and meaningful and quality interactions. But in order  to achieve high performance and get things done, it's about focusing equally on the task and the relationship. This also holds true when working in a matrix and needing to influence from a position of trust and empathy.  

Authentic Leadership: Core Purpose

Leaders need to slow done and reflect on how their individual purpose  links to their job, their team and the organisation, before being able to transform this reflection into making themselves and their teams the best they can be.Through greater self-awareness, leaders can learn to be coherent between what they think and do, and to not be overwhelmed with information which can easily sidetrack them. Focus on the goal and reject any unnecessary noise.    


The interview data suggest that there isn't only one style of leadership that by definition makes a good leader. Leaders need to be able to apply each of the four styles and change according to circumstances and context.  

There were also individual comments about three other topics: generational management, measuring team effectiveness and the fact that we can no longer generalise and select leaders according to standard leadership competencies/qualities, but need to analyse what our business needs are and then select leaders who can address those needs.

For a free copy of the full report, including all of the original (anonymous) interview comments, please email us today. For more information about a new tool we launched as a result of these interview findings, click here.

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