Leadership Trends for 2018 – What’s New?

There was a Forbes article earlier this year about trends in Leadership for 2018.  ”Is there anything new in Leadership?”, you might be asking, “Leadership is leadership, isn’t it?”

Well, I think it is true to say that there are some fundamentals to good leadership that haven’t and probably will never change.  Things like – understanding and communicating what your vision and values are, and leading by example (which was one of the ‘trends’ on the Forbes article).

However, there certainly are some trends mentioned in the article that are interesting challenges for the future and others that are possibly wishful thinking.

One of the dubious trends identified for 2018 by the author was proactively ‘elevating and retaining’ female leaders.  Well, I would like to think that is a trend but the figures, in the UK at least, for the last few years are the opposite of encouraging.  The number of women on boards may be on the rise (the majority of those NED positions) but the number of women in senior management positions fell from 21% in 2016 to 19% in 2017 according to a recent Grant Thornton report.  So if ‘elevating and retaining female leaders IS a trend for 2018 – I’m yet to see much evidence of it.

There are a couple of trends that I believe ARE valid for this year.  The first of these being the taking seriously of sexual assault and harassment reports in the workplace.  Following the Harvey Weinstein and many subsequent scandals, it is no surprise to find that more women (and men) feel able to come forward and report previously unreported incidents.  And it is no surprise that people are taking these things more seriously.

Another trend which creates challenges and also opportunities is the implementing and managing of Agile Talent.  Organisations are increasingly using a mix of consultants, contractors, freelancers, part and full-timers.  Agile talent is not just hiring a temporary worker.  Agile talent is hiring senior-level talent on a temporary (short or long term, full or part-time) basis.  And there are a number of management challenges that this brings.

Communication is key in the above scenario, as well as onboarding and ongoing reviewing of goals and results.  In other words, these people need to be treated as a true part of the team, in order for the relationship to work.  And they need to also know that they are seen that way.  The problems arise when a manager has not managed high-level agile talent before, and especially if the manager is younger and more inexperienced than the talent.  That’s a conversation that needs to be had and a clear line of communications and expectations that need to be agreed.

This is a trend which is bound to continue and increase over time.  One of the other lasting trends is “having an objective outsider”.  Management can be tough and even in organisations which have good HR, training and personal and professional staff development programs, it is not easy to always see clearly what the best course of action might be.  Having an objective outsider to help deal with staff matters, and particularly to help support and develop newer managers can ensure the success of the organisation by challenging ‘the norm’ or ‘the way things are done around here’.

The report makes an interesting read and certainly, we act as that ‘objective outsider’ in our role as Leadership developers, mentors, and trainers.

If you think you may benefit from an ‘objective outsider’ then please contact us.  An initial chat costs nothing.  Email me on [email protected]



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