Becoming the Modern Leader: It’s Time for a Leadership Transformation

Posted by Heather Lantz on Oct 9, 2015 10:02:32 AM
Becoming the Modern Leader


The way we conceptualize leadership has changed dramatically in the past few years.  Traits of the modern workplace transformation like fewer restrictions on how people work, increased mobility, and increased Millennial presence, leads to an equally transformed culture. Transformations of workplace ideologies results in conventional structures with centralized power slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. 


What does the future of leadership look like?

According to Andrea Derler, a writer for Bersin by Deloitte’s blog, by 2030 employees will expect to be a collaborative part of the leadership process.  A once micro-managing leadership type, will be replaced by a style that is more supportive, adaptive, and responsive. Let’s explore how each of these qualities affect leadership roles.


Supportive: Leaders have become much more cooperative, empathetic and encouraging. Rather than focusing solely on self-development and advancement, they have taken on the role as an employee motivator and exponent. Today’s leader is more focused on the advancement of her team than herself.


Adaptive: As stated before, the modern workplace has changed dramatically. So, just as we deal with change in our daily lives, today’s leaders must adapt. This means letting go of total control and letting your employees work in the manner and environment that they perform best. Allowing employees to work remotely and virtually have become common adaptations of the modern leader, mostly due to the change in workplace norms.


Responsive: In an ever-changing work world, the modern leader must be innovative and quick to react. A leader should not only invent his own fresh ideas, but also must be receptive enough to see the potential in his employees’ ideas.



Deloitte’s 2015 “Global Human Capital Trends” report shows that 86% of the business and HR leaders surveyed rank leadership as the most important issue facing their business.  But surprisingly, improvements in leadership are not happening fast enough because the leadership ‘capability gap’ is widening.


In fact, the report states “Only 6 percent of companies feel fully ready to address their leadership issues, only 10 percent feel comfortable with their succession program, and only 7 percent have strong programs to build Millennial leaders.”



An obvious question would be, if so many companies identify leadership as a chief issue then why are so few companies making progress in addressing it?

That brings us to the primary issues facing leadership in today’s corporate world.


  1. Sporadic investment- only 6% of executives surveyed reported having “excellent” programs to develop Millennial leaders. They’re missing the investment from up the ladder.


  1. Failure to make long term investments in leadership- this occurs when leadership development is seen as short-term or only requiring one training program.  According to research by Deloitte, high-performing companies spend almost 2 times more on developing leadership than others.


  1. Failure to develop a substantial leadership pipeline- of the respondents to the survey, 10% said they had an “excellent” succession program, which shows a lack of prepared and qualified future leaders.

Clearly workplace culture has changed radically in the past decade.  Technology empowers each employee to act more autonomously, thereby changing the interaction of leader and employee. 


Culture, engagement, and leadership are the most important issues for more than 3,000 business and HR leaders.  Businesses recognize the need to understand their workplace culture to further develop their leaders. With more well-funded succession programs, the proverbial “corporate ladder” can become a robust, diversely networked pipeline.  

Bersin, Josh Demper Arwal, Bill Pelster and Jeff Schwartz. “Introduction: Leading in the New World of Work.”; Canwell, Adam, Jason Geller and Heather Stockton. “Leadership: Why a Perennial Issue?”; Crowley, Mark C. “Why Workplace Leadership is About to Get Its First Major Makeover in Over a Century.”; Derler, Andrea. “Leaders in 2030 Won’t See ‘Followers’, But Collaborators, Associates and Allies.”; , Derler Andrea. “Leadership: What is Different Today?”



Topics: Corporate Learning

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