Leadership in an Interconnected Future World

March 27, 2019

The future world in which Leadership will be practiced is one of interconnectedness.  People are focussing more and more on collaboration and connection fueling the development of technologies making connection easier.  Just look at the popularity of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In this new world where everything is connected, what are the challenges Leaders will have to face to be successful?  What is needed to change the face of leadership to keep up and stay relevant in this new world?

The Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) highlighted three key principles needed to ensure successful leadership in this future world.

Interconnected Leadership Requires an Evolution in Leadership Thought

Leadership is no longer about the heroic Leader who saves the day, virtually on his/her own.  Leadership in an interconnected world is a process creating direction and alignment, fostering commitment among the people in the organization.  This requires a new way of thinking about Leadership.  The focus of Leadership is much more about collaboration and less about individual effort.  Therefore change in leadership style is necessary to incorporate collaboration as key part of the Leadership process.

Interconnected Leadership Cultures must Advance

The dominant Leadership culture is normally one of dependence, independence or interdependence.  Leading in the future interconnected world means there is very little space for dependent and independent cultures.   In a world where the emphasis is on collaboration and connexion, dependant and independent cultures simply does not fit anymore.

An interdependent culture on the other hand is a culture born from the whole movement towards connection and collaboration.  An interdependent culture is better equipped to deal with the complexity of change.  Organizations dealing the best with change will be organizations, not only surviving, but thriving in this new world.

Interconnected Leadership Spans Four Levels

The four levels connected with one another and incorporated in future leadership is society, organization, group and individual.  In order to work effectively across theses four levels the leader must practise four arts in the form of dialogue, creating headroom, boundary spanning and inside-out development.

Interconnected Leadership Creates Dialogue

On society level, dialogue makes use of probing questioning and innovative conversation to understand and face challenges better. Through dialogue assumptions are challenged, and creative solutions are found to dynamic problems.

Interconnected Leadership Creates Headroom

On Organizational level, creating headroom is the process engaged in by senior leaders in an organization to exhibit behaviour driving collaboration and interdependence.  This behaviour by senior leaders provides time and space to think and act differently in ways impacting the whole leadership culture.  A key practise in changing leadership culture and creating headroom is public learning.  This means senior Leaders often publicly discuss mistakes and the learning taken from those mistakes.

Interconnected Leadership Spans Boundaries

On group level, boundary spanning is the art spanning boundaries by ironically creating and strengthening them.  By creating and strengthening boundaries the Leader creates a safe environment for people to function within.  Once people have a safe place to work from they are much more open to ideas spanning and crossing boundaries.

Interconnected Leadership Encourages Inside Out Development

On individual level, inside out development focuses on the mind-set of each individual.  This takes into account their values and beliefs, identity, and emotions.  Leadership plays an important role in inside out development since it is a key focus of the leader to develop the people he/she leads.  The leader must help people “learn to learn”.

We are facing an exciting future, with technology enhancing our world and creating new opportunities for collaboration and connection on a daily basis.  The Leadership challenge lies in the ability of leaders to embrace this new world and adjust their Leadership style to meet the challenges the future world will bring.



Leading Effectively E-News Letter. Centre for Creative Leadership: Spotlight On: Leadership in an Interdependent World

Leading Effectively E-News Letter. Centre for Creative Leadership: The Four Arts of Interdependent Leadership

About the author

Joseph Hawking has a passion for people & leadership development and since he discovered his mom’s old typewriter as a boy, have been writing in some form or another. He is part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network, where he is a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. He believes that the highest form of living is using what you have been blessed with, to add value to other people’s lives. He has been publishing The Leadership Connexion blog since August 2018.