Novelty and trends in leadership

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Our 21st century is unfolding revealing general challenges leaders face like globalization, migration, innovation, the communication including social media, employee engagement deterioration, and talent management. For example, the number of highly engaged employees is falling to the range of only 25-35 % depending on the country. Understanding and developing optimism, purposefulness, autonomy, competence, and resilience (hardiness) becomes a must. Joyful leadership attempt is one of the answers to the issue. Other answers include a greater focus on the collective rather than individual leadership and the democratization of leadership, spreading leadership capacity throughout the organization?

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Looking back into 2018 and onward one can find various trends in leadership and one such list was recently assembled by Forbes Coaches Council members. While there is no general “right” way to be a leader it seems, there is a good way to be a leader taking into consideration “L’espirit du temps”.

ENCOURAGING ALL TEAM MEMBERS TO BE BRAND AMBASSADORS – Leaders are starting to recognize that every employee is an opportunity to provide the market insights into the culture, quality, and standards of the organization. By leveraging social media, particularly LinkedIn, every employee can become an ambassador.

INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT – Leaders will recognize the long-term benefit of focusing on human capital development. Taking a vested interest in helping employees thrive in all areas of their lives (not just work), will create more engagement, productivity and overall happier employees.

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INCREASING EMPHASIS ON EMPATHETIC LEADERSHIP – Value-driven Generation Y and Z talent will continue to leave command-and-control cultures for collaborative workplaces. The value of leadership empathy will be sky-high in 2018. The ability to understand, relate to and be sensitive to employees, colleagues, and communities will be paramount. We will see an even greater emphasis on listening, relating and coaching to drive effective leadership.

FOCUSING ON INDIVIDUAL GROWTH – With so much focus on diversity and inclusion, we may have overlooked the value and power of separation. 2018 will be the year of individual growth. Many will turn to them for help and in clarifying one’s purpose and how to actualize one’s full potential.

LEADING BY ACTIONS AND EXAMPLES – Vocally supporting policies and procedures, but their actions say otherwise – past. With so much light being shed on unacceptable behavior in all workplaces, leaders will begin to understand they need to not only hold their teams accountable for proper behavior but hold themselves accountable as well.

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TURNING ORGANIZATIONS INTO A TRULY CUSTOMER-CENTRIC BUSINESS – With robust customer feedback mechanisms and reporting, there is simply no excuse for not adapting to what customers really want today. Customers are no longer loyal to a brand, they’re loyal to experiences that work for them. Talking is not enough. It’s time to act.

EMBRACING ‘WORK-LIFE BLEND’ – Industry leader, are recognizing how working from home helps acquire and retain top talent. In 2018, companies will recognize that work-life blend is key. They won’t just opt for bean bag chairs and ping pong tables but create jobs and schedules that allow staff to better blend their work and lives to reduce burnout.

PAYING ATTENTION TO INTERNAL FACTORS THAT ARE IN THEIR CONTROL – To make better decisions, we crave certainty. However, smart leaders are recognizing nothing’s certain in the outside world. In 2018, the winners will be those who redirect their attention to what’s happening inside their organizations, getting clear on who they want to be and what success looks like.

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TAKING WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT MORE SERIOUSLY – More employers will be less tolerant of sexual harassment in the workplace and will work to deal with claims more seriously to set the tone for their organization.

TAKING A STAND ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES – New recruits will demand to know.  In 2018, we will see a big emphasis on leaders developing their ability to be ambassadors for the values of their companies. Leaders will be articulating a point of view on sociopolitical issues such as diversity and inclusion, immigration and refugees. Remaining quiet or staying out of the fray is no longer an option.

PROACTIVELY ELEVATING AND RETAINING WOMEN LEADERS – One of the major leadership issues for 2018 will likely involve proactive efforts to elevate or retain women leaders. Another likely trend will be developing new, creative strategies for retaining skilled staff.

IMPLEMENTING AGILE TALENT – With the rise in freelancers and remote work, companies will be moving more towards the implementation of policies and procedures to work with agile talent. Organizations will need to train their managers to effectively onboard and utilize the agile talent to complete projects more efficiently while maintaining a strong organizational culture

HAVING AN OBJECTIVE OUTSIDER – Many companies are great at in-house training and coaching, and there is great value in working in the same environment as your coach or mentor. However, it’s oftentimes difficult to be objective when you are seeing the same people every day. Having an independent outsider helps all gain clarity.

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PROMOTING CONTINUOUS EDUCATION – As the business landscape persistently grows in competitive intensity, every organizational member must be smarter. Therefore, continuous learning will be at the forefront of management’s agenda to gain and sustain a competitive advantage. Learning will not be confined to formal training performed within the business. Learning will extend to a growing number of online micro-learning platforms. 

With the democratization and spreading of leadership within the network, more people will be leaders at one time or another. That includes you, too. Therefore, study how to lead through change and communicate your ideas if you are to prosper in future leadership market. 

Join our free Joyful Leadership online course today! Start here.


  1. Petar Turcinovic, Joyful Leadership Manual
  2. Forbes Coaches Council (2018. January 30). Leadership Trends that will Shape Organizations in 2018 [post]. Retrieved from leadership-trends-that-will-shape-organizations-in-2018/#511bd8055307
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