What’s new in Leadership?

Went to a talk given by Paul Bridle on Friday (www.paulbridle.com). Paul is a self styled leadership methodologist who highlighted some key issues on leadership in the 21st century. Whilst there wasn’t anything startling new it was a good reminder that employees today:

  1. are focused – they are outcome and achievement oriented
  2. take ownership – they feel responsible for their own career/their own state of mind
  3. are adaptable – they seek opportunity and are prepared to learn.

The only hope we have of engaging the employee of tomorrow (or today) is to create an environment in which motivated people can flourish and be the best they can be.  This begs the question: can we really deliver employee engagement through top down processes? Isn’t it about doing all the good organisational development stuff well – leadership, climate, team building… and then the individual takes responsibility for whether they feel empowered or not?

Implications for HR and organisations are that the more innovative organisations are:

  • setting up self study groups
  • using lots of webinars for training – at Microsoft staff can be seen in the corporate gym plugged into i-pods with the latest downloads and webinars
  • giving people their own training budgets
  • allowing individuals to hire their own coaches and presumably organise their own development (hence point above)

As HR/T&D folk we need to provide quality resources, preferably pre screened to ensure the organisation and the invididual is getting best value. In addition, helping individuals think through what their career objectives are (not just within the current organisation but beyond) and how each of these development ‘steps’ (webinars, coaches etc) will help to achieve these objectives. All in all it’s about ensuring the organisation has the individual in mind and doesn’t look as if they are pushing their own agenda.

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