Social media has changed the world in ways unimaginable 15 years ago. We live in such a connected world where social and cultural barriers are practically nonexistent. If we want information a simple Google search will give us access to scholarly articles, expert opinion, opposing views and a wealth of knowledge, all at our fingertips.
Knowledge is still power but our leaders no longer hold the power alone. So what does this mean in today's business context?
This access to knowledge means that power has shifted and that people expect to have their voices heard. If a follower is unhappy with their leader, or a customer is unhappy with a company, they'll be sure to let them know about it. Politically, this is evident in the Arab Spring and Occupy movements. Even the Kony2012 campaign although it didn't achieve its target, shows the power of people in such a connected world.
So what does this mean for the future of leadership development? How does a leader retain and engage their followers in the organisational context?
All leaders need loyal followers. Even in the social media space, the number of followers someone has builds their reputation as a thought leader in their field.
Leadership development needs to address the collaborative and networked nature of the modern business context. A leader retains followers by developing relationships with them. This relationship is not built by giving out promotions and financial incentives, but by the content of their conversations.
Conversations, one-on-one, or across project teams and cultural boundaries and in team meetings - whether face-to-face or virtual - are key to leadership.
We call this Connected Intelligence (CQ). CQ is the key to successful leadership in the 21st century.
For a leader to develop high CQ they need to think in terms of three types of conversations that should occur both online and offline:
- Conversations for alignment across the organisation
- Conversations for accountability and support
- Conversations for breakthrough and influence
Underpinning all these conversations is mindfulness and self-awareness to change and adapt to the complex, ethical challenges of a newly bounded organisation.
For more information on CQ and the future of leadership development in Australia, download a free copy of our whitepaper www.iecl.com/cqwhitepaper