Leaders of the future will also take on the role of thought leaders and influencers
The world is in the midst of a Fourth Industrial Revolution that is fundamentally changing the world of work. Specifically, AI, machine learning, robotics, and other cutting-edge technologies are transforming how we work and adding efficiencies, which in turn is changing the profile of the workforce. As technology becomes more of a horizontal that affects every industry vertical, the workplace evolves in lockstep. The future of work is heavily augmented with technology, and leaders need to develop the right skills to help an organization maintain its competitiveness both in leading the charge in upskilling and setting into motion mentoring and development for their teams.
Technology has a direct impact on staff. Every robot that’s added per 1,000 workers, for example, results in a 0.2% decline in the employment-to-population ratio, which translates to a loss of about 400,000 jobs, according to “Robots and Jobs: Evidence from U.S. Labor Markets.” Requiring a different skill set will be created, and finding staff to fill these positions will be a process as demand outstrips supply.
There’s a cause and effect. Productivity hasn’t kept pace with technology innovations, and eventually, the workplace will catch up as staff becomes more adept at adopting new innovations through leadership and upskilling. Leaders will focus more on results, accountability, and freedom versus where and how employees get work done. Many a role will need to be redesigned. These changes take time though as people are often uneasy with new technology and getting upskilled and reskilled can be a process.
Leaders need to manage through this transition. As more repetitive tasks are performed by technology rather than people, employers will have more demand for employees with strong technical skills across multiple disciplines, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science and analytics, and cloud computing. Teams will ultimately focus on more value-generating tasks – technology can’t make decisions and solve problems in the same way as a person. Critical thinking skills are imperative for both teams and leaders.
Rather than develop a select few people, management responsibilities will likely be spread across an organization and leadership models need to be able to capture the new path forward in this increasingly digital world. Leaders will need to be strong advocates for their teams so that the team as a whole and individuals can both achieve their goals.
“A leader needs to provide their team with the right resources and direction, and that means understanding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to be able to assign roles accordingly, as well as to provide training or additional staff with the right skillsets.”
Along with being able to provide a clear direction and strategy to staff, leaders of the future will also take on the role of thought leaders and influencers. To be an influencer means that the leader has obtained a level of success and shares their knowledge and philosophies to motivate others to achieve the same. Leaders grow because they have followers rather than in the old model, where leaders were promoted into their position regardless of whether they had a following.