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What's driving the change to lead differently today? Leadership 4.0.

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

I wanted to take you on a journey to consider what #new ways of leading are needed today and what is driving the need for us to lead differently, to inspire leaders to write their own leadership playbook.

from global crisis to high trust cultures

The Eldeman Trust Barometer indicates trust has been declining for the last few decades, as a result we may be breeding generations filled with cynicism. Their most recent report (2023) highlights a continued lack of faith in our institutions triggered by economic disruption, disinformation, mass-class divide and the undoing of our global leaders.

There is a shining light. Most say business is the only institution left that they have faith in,

and they want CEOs who are accountable for doing something about our social and environmental issues.

People are looking inwards more than ever before for that trusted guidance.

We believe this is moulding workplace culture. We are seeing TRUST and concepts like psychological safety becoming more visible and critical to optimising performance, and expected from Leaders today.

Then there are all the workplace performance and culture studies trying to decipher what inhibits or promotes it. A BCG study of 110 eco-systems found that on the surface, trust was a major cause of failure in projects and ideas that failed, digging deeper they discovered 94% of them failed due to some sort of trust-related issues.

Trust is the glue that binds teams. It's fragile; it can be the main cause of failure, it's needed for agile decision making.

When trust falls, or is low, people are less likely to cooperate and work with each other,

they are more likely to do so when they trust what is being said. Trust also results in much more agile decision making. TRUST is the foundation for optimizing performance, for collaboration and communication, for safety. The TRUST crisis is one element that is changing our expectations of workplace leaders.

workplace TRUST is a lever for accelerating performance.

You may have noticed more discussion with purpose as a theme.

the demand for MEANING

We are recognising that continuing to live the way we have is unsustainable. The mass disturbances to our classes is making inequity obvious. Digitization is changing not just the pace of what we do, but also how we do it. As economies merge, the chances are if one fails, we are all impacted in some way. This places pressure on organisations to be more purposeful in their endeavours, we not only look to our workplaces as a source of truth, we also expect them to contribute to the greater good.

The pressure to be more purposeful comes with benefits which Leaders are slowly starting to get a handle on. I’ve coined a phrase to describe the benefits. P2 or PP2? P2 is when leaders focus on profits for pockets, which let's be honest is not going to ignite high performance.

Leaders who see PP2 understand PURPOSE and PEOPLE drive profits for pockets

Ernst and Young in their paper, The Business case for purpose. found a strong shared sense of purpose helped leaders meet new challenges and transform their organisations. And whilst the obvious upside to purpose is this the greater good, the commercial upsides of living an organisational purpose are an increase in business legitimacy, ability to better attract, retain and motivate your talent, ability to foster stronger customer and stakeholder relationships, improved employee wellbeing and an increase in performance.

The TRUST crisis, coupled with the need to be more PURPOSEFUL, sustainable and equitable are working together to change what we expect, and need, from our workplace leaders.

Let’s add another shift witnessed in the last few decades. In 1998, Dr Martin Seligman introduced the world to Positive Psychology and around the same time (1995), Daniel Goleman wrote published with EQ matters more than IQ. Over the decades, research continues to weigh in on the benefits of emotional intelligence and positive psychology.

concepts, frameworks, ideas and theories have been infiltrating our workplaces shifting HOW leaders lead.

And influencing the definition of high performing, an ideal organisation's have been chasing for decades, more so today than ever before. High performance is subtly shifting to thriving workplace. Leaders are expected to manage performance with strengths, which influences how they are having performance discussions, and get a grasp on how to positively influence employee wellbeing.

Now we have, the TRUST crisis, coupled with the need to be more PURPOSEFUL, sustainable and equitable, overlayed with ASPIRATIONS to cultivate a thriving workplace culture and positively influence employee wellbeing and our emotional intelligence. Accelerate this because digitization is speeding up everything – from expectations, to output, to the what how when and where.

I hope you’re beginning to appreciate how this is working together to completely change what we expect, need, and WANT from workplace leaders.

Workplace culture is also changing what we expect from leaders.

We've been shouting this for years, and research backs this.

Your brand is based on the experience of your customers. Which is based on the experience of your people. Which is based on the quality of your leadership.

This idea that people drive customer experience is not new. What is new is that culture is gaining more and more attention and today is being prioritized over strategy, because culture will determine your customer’s experience, which determines your brand reputation, growth and returns.

How does this shape organisational behaviour? Most businesses today measure and report on culture at a team, leader, executive and board level.

CUTURE at the core of strategy and fast becoming best practice.

Now we have, the TRUST crisis, coupled with the need to be more PURPOSEFUL, sustainable and equitable, overlayed with ASPIRATIONS to cultivate a workplace culture that is thriving, accelerated due to digitization and a deeper understanding of the connection between Leaders-workplace culture- customer experience-growth.

We are changing what we expect, need, want and DESIRE from workplace leaders. It’s why we believe leaders need to write their own leadership playbook.

You may be wondering if the attention on leadership is warranted, do leaders impact organisational outcomes that significantly? The answer is YES leaders can.

McKinsey found in a 2017 survey of high performing teams that investors felt a high performing management team was the single most important nonfinancial factor when listing a company. And amongst all the research on workplace culture, leaders are the most consistent element and vital to driving culture.

The emotional intelligence consortium found when looking at leadership, two-thirds of their success was based on emotional intelligence, with The World Economic Forum listing emotional intelligence as one of the top 10 skills needed in the 4th industrial revolution. A study of partners in a consulting firm assessed for emotional intelligence competencies and found that those who scored above the median for 9 or more of the 20 competencies delivered $1.2 million more profit than other partners – a 139% incremental gain (Boyatzis, 1999). In another case study where emotional intelligence was used for hiring, they found those most successful in their roles scored significantly higher in emotional intelligence. By using emotional intelligence in their hiring, they realized a saving of $3 million annually and productivity gains.

Leaders play a key role in optimising organisational performance, and emotional intelligence is a critical capability.

When we ask teams today to define what great leadership looks like and what high performing teams do, you can imagine the kind of responses we receive.

We see a desire for leaders who are accountable for culture AND engagement, and purposeful, bringing the values to life for everyone, and showing others how their purpose and values link.

Leaders need to be a beacon, a guiding light for the team

We desire leaders who cultivate trust, not diminish it and are therefore authentic and vulnerable, appropriate and balanced. Leaders that understand and build psychological safety and play to team strengths, Leaders who are highly self aware and empathetic, and well connected, and are across wellbeing, balance and burnout. Leaders who can keep up with the pace of change, driving more agile, resilient team cultures. And leaders who understand their own biases and promote diversity, equity and fairness.

The list continues.

We desire leaders who set standards for themselves and everyone else in the organisation and maintain positive environments, addressing tension quickly and effectively. They need to have courageous conversations addressing under performance, respecting there is a human at the center of that conversation. Leaders who are super communicators leading teams that are digitally, geographically and expertly spread.

It’s why we are writing a new leadership playbook for leaders and we are driven to continue playing a thought-provoking role in addressing what is expected of leaders today.

PeopleQ works with individuals teams and organisations to cultivate leadership skills needed for the future of work, and support organisations to build thriving workplace cultures.

Find out more about us here.



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