Wanted: Responsive and Responsible Leadership

What makes a great manufacturing leader?
Finding the right balance of technology, talent and human connection will enable people and businesses to succeed in this world of constant change.

Yet, a split in the workforce is emerging. On one hand, individuals with in-demand skills are in the driving seat. They’re able to call the shots; create opportunities; and dictate how, where and when they want to work. However, at the other end of the spectrum, those without in-demand skills look to the future and are unable to see how their circumstances will improve.

We need to address this widening gap between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots’. So now is the time for responsive and responsible leadership. We cannot slow the rate of technological advance or globalisation, but we can invest in employees’ skills to increase the resilience of our people and organisations.

Let’s take a look at some specific areas where responsive and responsible leadership will be critical in the coming years:

Blending five generations in the workforce

With people living longer and working older, many employers now have five generations to motivate and manage in their workforce. As a result, leaders need to be responsive and make it clear that all talent is valued in their organisation. Yet, we shouldn’t assume that we understand the drivers and motivations of each generation. Business leaders should take the time to understand their generational mix; their unique preferences and motivators; and implement talent strategies accordingly.

The demise of the traditional work model

While the gig model is not the reality for the majority at the moment, there is no doubt that the trend towards the ‘career for me’ is on the rise. The goal today is no longer finding the job for life. Instead, individuals want to develop the skills, experience and expertise necessary to be employable for the long-term. Consequently, we’re seeing individuals increasingly choose new ways of working that suit their needs and enable them to lead ‘one life’ that blends work and home. As a result, business leaders need to build a new work model that balances flexibility with responsibility. This needs to protect organisational productivity, whilst giving workers the freedom to choose where, when and how they work.

Tackling shortening skill cycles

Technological revolutions mean skills cycles are shorter than ever. Skills that are valuable today may hold less value in the coming years, while new skill requirements will emerge. As a result, business leaders need to focus on reskilling and upskilling people more than ever before. Improving people’s employability in this way will give businesses access to a wider pool of quality talent, and individuals more control and choice throughout their careers.

Changes in the world of work are accelerating at a pace and scale never seen before. Nonetheless, with responsive and responsible leadership we’ll be poised not only to meet the changing demands of business, but enhance people’s lives too.

If you’d like to find out more about how technology is likely to impact the future world of work, download our new whitepaper, The Skills Revolution.