If future leaders are no longer authoritative, how will they lead?

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Given the global events of the past month and the antics of some of our so called global leaders there is no doubt we are witnessing what many predicted would come to pass. We are not only going to live in a world of increasing uncertainty and volatility that will, at times, verge on the chaotic, we are also going to have to lead and manage companies in this complex environments.

The all too familiar terminology will continue to be used to describe traits that future leaders and managers will need to develop, possess, and exhibit – such as the need to be flexible, adaptable, resilient, and the need to be able to manage change. This suggests that for the future there is no definitive “best” way to lead rather it will be an “it depends” approach to leading organisations.

Access to unprecedented amounts of information gathered from every imaginable source is and will continue to be available adding to the confusion and complexity if not analysed and managed carefully.

This all implies that future leaders will no longer be the authoritative knowledge based experts in their field. Rather, leaders will need to be facilitators who are articulate and engaging communicators capable of reaching every organisational level and able to mobilise and manage people in times of unprecedented change within a diverse and multi-cultural environment.

I thought about what future managers need to undertake and discovered these seven recommendations[1].

  1. Manage by objectives
  2. Take more risks and consider the long term, and this will need to occur even at lower levels of the organisation
  3. Make strategic decisions
  4. Build an integrated team of people who can monitor their own performance and targets
  5. Communicate information quickly and clearly to motivate others to participate responsibly
  6. See the business as a whole and understand how one’s own function is integrated
  7. Be able to relate one’s product and industry to the larger environment, understanding how it might play a role in or be affected by things happening in other markets and countries

What makes these recommendations interesting is that in a quiet moment over Easter I re-read one of the first books I ever purchased on the topic of management – Peter Drucker’s The Practice of Management. There in Chapter 29 The Manager of Tomorrow were these seven recommendations which I found interesting not only because this book was first published in 1954 but because I believe even though we might express them differently today the sentiment of these recommendations are still relevant now and will continue to be for future leaders.


Viventé Australia enables leaders and managers develop the bond between people and performance, creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its best.

[1] Chapter 29,The Manager of Tomorrow, The Practice of Management: Peter Drucker

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