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Touchpoint - Leadership

‘More than 1,000 executives worldwide identified the issues they expect to command their attention in the coming year. The biggest challenge found? It’s developing, attracting, and retaining “next gen” leaders faced with the immense responsibility of staying competitive as the digital disruption continues to transform the workplace.’ (Schwantes, 2018).

Leaders need to have both hard skills and soft skills to succeed in their role in a company and in engaging employees. They need to build trust through honesty, be humble in their demeanour, be supportive and consistent in their approach, and ensure that everything they do is with integrity. They also need to be able to inspire their employees (Tredgold, 2013). Leaders need to be willing to listen and learn, have a hands-on approach, pay attention to and have a passion for their job. They must have the ability to delegate but also be able to make decisions and think differently when needed (Half, 2016). Lolly Daskal lists a number of attributes that she believes are necessary for great leadership. These include leaders not relying on what they know but constantly working to improve what they do and who they are. Leaders know to predict, formulate and expedite. They also know how to motivate employees, and trust and manage their employees (Daskal, 2017).

Leadership styles vary from company to company but as the workforce changes leadership needs to do the same. Leaders need to be digitally knowledgeable to keep up with changes in technology and emerging technology as it enters the workplace. Even leaders need to learn and by adopting a culture of continuous learning they are showing their employees that it is all right to admit you don’t know everything but are willing to learn to fill the gaps in your knowledge-base. This also gives an excellent opportunity for reverse mentoring where they can learn from the younger generations entering the workforce with the knowledge required.

Transformational leadership is fast becoming one of the most successful leadership styles, with changes in the wants and needs of new generations and technology entering the workforce. Employees expect to collaborate to ensure the company’s success. Authenticity plays a huge part in gaining and keeping the trust of employees. By adding the human touch to leadership, being authentic in interactions and working with the employees, eliciting their feedback, listening to and discussing their concerns, putting their needs first, a leader is displaying a leadership style that employees will want to emulate.