Traditional leadership expectations and outcomes still have a place in today’s new world of work, but they should be combined with a set of new competencies and recognition of a new context to round out how leadership is defined for the 21st century. Developing leaders with new competencies requires more than an evolution in the competencies themselves. Equally paramount is for the organization to have the culture, the structure, and the management processes to cultivate these leaders.
We see leadership pipelines and development at a crossroads at which organizations must focus on both the traditional and the new. Organizations know that they must develop leaders for perennial leadership skills such as the ability to manage operations, supervise teams, make decisions, prioritize investments, and manage the bottom line. And they know that they must also develop leaders for the capabilities needed for the demands of the rapidly evolving, technology-driven business environment—capabilities such as leading through ambiguity, managing increasing complexity, being tech-savvy, managing changing customer and talent demographics, and handling national and cultural differences.