What Is A Next Generation Leader?

Traditional leaders invest in maintaining the status quo. Next Generation Leaders evolve it.

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I was asked recently what a next generation leader was. So here goes…

I believe that we are at a pivotal moment in human history. That we are being called to upgrade our operating system on the planet. My big vision is that we finally find the courage to make the shift to a sustainable world where we all flourish.

Next Generation Leaders are the ones who will lead us there.  

Voicing The Gap

How this idea started is that I realised how ill equipped traditional leaders are for this.

My background is in leadership and career development. A few years back I toyed with the idea of abandoning leadership development. I could feel the gap between my version of leadership and what companies were wanting. In parallel, I was experiencing this intense frustration (ok let’s call it what it was… a mixture of anger and powerlessness) at how leaders were showing up and what they were creating out in the world.

I was then luckily asked to support a department of change makers for a large multinational. And have been blessed to be immersed in the world of next generation leadership since then.

This had me understand the core of the gap I had been feeling.

For the most part, as leaders we are trained to and invested in maintaining and navigating the status quo. Not to evolve it.

Leading For A Paradigm Shift

Next Generation Leaders are the ones who are willing to go beyond that. The ones who choose to lead to a fundamental systemic shift.

We talk about innovating. What that generally means are a few tweaks here and there. Maybe changing the shape of a shampoo bottle or optimising a process. Perhaps buying a company which offers something a bit different.

Usually it does not involve actively pursuing a fundamental reset. Disrupting your own industry or products. Turning your thinking on its head. Or venturing into the complete unknown to seek hidden treasure.

Most leaders have a vested interest in things staying the same. Because that is what they are paid for – maintaining the old system for as long as it provides maximum profit. Their livelihood depends on it and it happens to be what they know how to do.

Within that frame it is dangerous to stick your head above the parapet. We do not treat our aspiring visionaries, pioneers and change makers well. Because they question the way things are and it feels uncomfortable. Instead of answering their call for us to grow and evolve our thinking, we scapegoat them. 

What does it take for leaders to become the Next Generation Leaders who will create the sustainable world of tomorrow where we all flourish?

The 4 Shifts

The key is to stop focusing on ticking the external boxes of success to win. And instead to touch the world with your unique presence.

Next Generation Leaders shine the light on and gift the world with their uniqueness.

They stop looking to the current world for answers. They know their value is in their essence.  They embrace what they are uniquely equipped to envision.  They pioneer new ways that don’t exist yet.   They create the new blueprints for sustainable living and working that will enable us to leap forward.

In practice it means making 4 shifts:

1. Remember What Matters: Instead of focusing on what you can do, start to do what you are made for. 
2. Create Self-Fuelling Work: Stop trying to find an existing job. Assume the roles we need have not been invented yet and create your own work around your strengths – even if you are employed.
3. Show The Way: Rather than making yourself small to fit in, be the one who guides change consciously.
4. Enable Everyone To Shine: Move away from managing others’ performance. Move towards enabling others to bring their full value to work.  So they can contribute meaningfully to a whole new level of vision.

Until Next Time,


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