Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK

The great leadership re-wire

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Performance Works International is a Business Reporter client.

Why transformational leadership is crucial to accelerate success in the digital-era workplace

Business Reporter: Performance Works International

The demands on leaders are unparalleled in the current business age. The fast pace of how we live and work today is driving businesses into radical incremental change. Leaders are dealing with a scope and scale of transformation to the power of three – digital transformation, workforce transformation and their own leadership, or the “Triple Now”, to use the phrase coined by Jeremy Blain, CEO of Performance Works International.

This is on top of the aftermath of a ten-year financial crisis that began in 2008, a global pandemic, increasing socio-political tensions, economic fluidity, war, new ways of working, and employees who increasingly hold the balance of power when it comes to talent attraction, recruitment and retention.

It is not surprising many leaders are struggling, required to embark on a steep new development journey, building the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to thrive and lead in today’s fast-paced, competitive business environment.

The impact on leaders

It is no wonder some leaders are struggling to keep up, while others are close to breaking point both mentally and physically. In our recent global Transformational Leadership Survey 2023, 41 per cent of competent leaders said they would leave the corporate world by 2025 if things didn’t change. We have less than two years to help our capable leaders, who may not have admitted how much support they actually need. A good thing, but also with a deadline. The clock is ticking. The very best leaders understand that things need to change – to protect their wellbeing, mental health and to embrace the personal development curve needed in some quarters. They know that, at times, the secret is to slow down and consolidate in order to speed up. Slowing down supports a spirit of experimentation, innovation and strategic thinking. It reduces risk and allows for a longer-term view, as much as protection of short-term ambition. However, continuing to speed up, often driven by short-term needs and numbers, is a higher-risk strategy that can lead to more rapid failure, as a business and as a leader. It’s a tough balancing act – particularly as we are living and working through accelerated times.

Eyeing a more positive outlook

Leaders are dealing with the Great Resignation, the Great Retrenchment, quiet quitting, the Great Reshuffle, the Great Regret and most recently the Great Rehire. That’s a lot to wade through. If you are wondering what is next, perhaps you should think about getting back to plain great:

• Great society

• Great workplaces

• Great leaders

• Great workforces

• Great businesses

We need to rewire how leadership is defined for the modern workplace, and redefine the most important knowledge, skills and behaviours that leaders should adopt.

Accelerating the great leadership re-wire

For those leaders who are immobilised, are in denial of the journey ahead, who need an upgrade in skills terms, or who want to accelerate, there are clear paths forward. One will lead to progress, and one will lead to failure. For themselves and even for their business. Our 2023 Transformational Leadership Survey (download it free here) found that the 10 most important messages for boards and leaders in terms of acknowledging the current reality, and rewiring the leadership mindset to move forward more positively, are:

1. Leadership readiness is declining

According to leaders themselves, leaders are less confident in their ability to navigate the way forward.

2. Leadership learning has stalled

The steep learning curve that many leaders are required to embrace is not happening enough across leadership teams.

3. The capability gap between boards, executive leaders and the rest of the organisation is narrowing

While leadership development slows or even stalls, the rest of the organisation is learning more rapidly.

4. Leadership wellbeing is a growing concern

Greater anxieties and mental health concerns at leadership level are now more common and in the open.

5. Executive leadership drain risk is doubled

More leaders and senior management than ever are considering their position and could check out completely – on top of those leaders who are failing and not prepared to admit it (to themselves or others)

6. One leader is not enough

Strategically and operationally, greater empowerment is a “need to do”, not a “nice to do”.

7. There is a need to break down traditional management systems

The rise of flatter, decentralised horizontal leadership will underpin and fast-track true empowerment and take operational pressure off executive leaders.

8. Fast-tracking the adoption and embedding of digitalisation will fuel leadership at all levels

Digital-era working methods accelerate the need to further support more empowered, efficient, productive and collaborative working for all levels.

9. Leaders underestimate the human touch at their peril

Human-centred leadership and management practices are more important than ever when considering ongoing digitalisation, business transformation and the business growth pressures in the short- to medium-term.

10. Culture building is both urgent and important for the “new normal”

When considering evolving business models and structures, hybrid and distributed working practices and the next digital evolution around the corner – Web3 and economising the Metaverse.

How Performance Works International develops modern leaders effectively

The research above informs our own journey as a company, and for the leaders within it. It’s a means to develop ourselves, upgrade our leadership development content year-on-year, and maintain a thoroughly modern, current and applicable leadership suite for businesses globally – whether that is delivered through consulting services, facilitation, leadership briefings, leadership exploration journeys, executive coaching or something else.

For 2023-2025, we have launched The Transformational Leadership Acceleration Programme, which is a comprehensive, advanced leadership development suite designed to build and shape leaders for the modern workplace, in a world of uncertainty, unpredictability and exponential change.

• The learning journey is formed at the cutting edge of the best modern leadership practices, research and thinking

• The content, case studies, models and experts who contribute are constantly evolved and updated to suit the ever-changing situations and conditions leaders everywhere are required to deal with

• Our programmes can be accessed as month-on-month journeys, or as pick-and-play menus of interventions, to build your own leadership development journey that’s appropriate to your business, speed of transformation and specific needs

We bring global best practices, leaders and industry professionals to all our learning interventions, no matter where they are and who they are targeted at. Our approach is to perfectly blend the need for modern leaders to master digital, human-centred, purpose-balanced leadership, on top of their own leadership development. You can download the brochure here to review options, ideas and examples.

The Transformational Leadership Acceleration Programme is being embraced globally as a comprehensive leadership development suite for large, medium and small businesses, institutional and government organisations, scale-ups and business schools to enhance work-ready curricula for the modern business landscape.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.