Innovation. In a disruptive environment, innovation is often cited as the first and best solution. As in – “If our leaders were more innovative, employee retention would increase!” Innovation is influential, important, and capable of doing many things – but innovation can’t curb employee turnover.
Then it must be wisdom. “If our leaders had all the right credentials and merits, turnover would certainly cease!” But alas, wisdom isn’t the answer either. There are numerous books and podcasts on the subject of leadership. We know more about change management, teamwork, organizational culture, and leadership influence than ever before, yet our workforce remains largely disengaged.
So what types of leaders succeed in an era like this one? The type of leaders we need now are those who have a strong sense of passion, humility, and urgency. These are the leadership traits of the Talent Economy.
The people who have a strong passion for what they do radiate a positive energy. Their eyes light up when they talk about their jobs. Passionate leaders are curious, connected, desire to serve others, and want to do the best work possible. They are visionary, and people naturally follow them because they ooze enthusiasm and inspire excellence.
Leaders who work towards their organizational goals with intensity and genuine excitement are more likely to make dialoguing with their team a priority, practice optimism and positivity, and believe they have control over their futures. These leaders aren’t derailed by daily challenges and they counteract their frustrations by focusing on what is going right.
Without passion, organizations won’t get very far.
This is a key component to successful leadership, yet it’s rarely recognized as such.
In the 20th century, the conventional view of the chief executive was a wildly independent and often egotistic commander. It would seem that during this time of incredible disruption, society would want and need commanding leaders, directing everything and everyone with masterful insight. Yet, the opposite has proven true. The pace of change has ensured that no one is an expert, and for the first time in history, every generation has something to learn and something to teach.
The best leaders today are self-aware enough to know that they can’t possibly know or do everything, and they aren’t afraid to turn to advisors and employees to seek new ideas and points of view.
Humble leaders possess an incredible desire to always be absorbing new information, honing new skills, and widening their perspectives. They will immerse themselves in dialogue and experiences with diverse groups of people.
Humility is understanding that you are part of something far greater than yourself and its benefits are surprisingly concrete. Consider these stats:
- Humble CEOs disperse their power, hire more diverse teams, give staff the ability to lead and innovate, and have a reduced pay disparity between themselves and staff (Journal of Management study);
- Intellectually humble college students perform higher in academic achievement, improve more over the course of a semester, and get better grades (University of California research);
- Humble leaders have higher employee satisfaction, less employee turnover, and improve the company’s overall performance (Catalyst global study)
Most quality leaders are experts at mobilizing their teams, but the very best leaders are driven by a constant and deeply personal need to move things forward and seek new developments.
They aren’t satisfied with moving slowly or with too much caution. They understand the importance of staying nimble and pushing their organizations towards transformative change. These leaders don’t just make unreasonably impulsive decisions; they take measured risks to move their organizations into the future and keep ahead of the competition.
The unfortunate reality is that many leaders aren’t functioning under the umbrella of urgency – or passion or humility – which has led to widening gaps in education, government, and workforce engagement.
Now is the time to lead with passion, humility, and urgency. No organization can afford to wait. If you’re ready to lead your organization into a new era of change, let’s get in touch.