Leadership is an elusive quality. Recent Studies of trends in organizations show decreasing levels of engagement and identification amongst employees.
Most do not fully trust or rely on their leaders. Organizations spend major resources to retain their talents. They invest in bonuses and in retention programs. But it seems that they miss something, as people become more mobile and with less allegiance to their leaders or to their organization.
What is this elusive quality that people look for in leadership and do not seem to find enough of it. I believe that this is a key question to understand the future of leadership.
In the last decades the brain and the mind moved to the front seat of leadership. The clever and the well- informed moved to leadership positions. This reached its peak in the information age and the knowledge age era.
Most organizations and their development are therefore based on brains and minds. The talents excel in their ability to use information cleverly and create new solutions with their brilliant minds. They become the super leaders, just to mention a few- Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Mask, Jeff Bezos Sergey Brin and the likes.
Brains and minds are being substituted now in some areas by Artificial Intelligence and machine learning such as CHAT GPT and others.
These are powerful human replacement applications, and they improve by the day. Soon many jobs that require powerful creative minds will be done far better by AI applications.
We already witness marketers and content people being replaced by new AI solutions. So, the great super brain power might not be a major advantage soon.
People however are not just brains and minds. They have feelings and emotions. This is where leadership is tested. To connect people, to engage them you need a heart. To create a team that is bonded you need a heart. However, heart is not often related to leadership nowadays.
In a world dominated by AI solutions the people who will work will still need to belong. They will need to be engaged. They will need to be inspired and bonded. They will need to be integrated.
The future of leadership is therefore the heart.
What does this actually mean?
It means that leaders will have to be genuine. They will have to care for their people. They will have to consider their feelings. They will need genuine values coming from their heart. They will need to genuinely want their people to succeed.
The way leaders develop in the future will have to include emotional intelligence, care, empathy, compassion and even love. The combination of minds and hearts is uniquely human and will stay that way.
I know that at present this sounds far out. There are however small beginnings of bringing more humanity to the business world. I found so far in my experience that employees of leaders with a heart tend to be much more engaged and with less attrition than other employees in the same organization.
Aviad Goz, April 2023.