I wrote this post originally for Shawn Murphy and Ted Coine, the brilliant minds behind the new Switch and Shift Blog. I wanted to share it with my readers as I believe you’re all pondering the Future of Leadership as well! Please share your insights about the future in the comments – the community learns so much when you share your ideas here. Thank you!
In the same way the world as we know it is coming to an end, so too is leadership. As someone who has spent a good deal of time these last few years working with an energy healer – a genuinely empowering experience – I fully believe that what the planet is moving toward is not the “Armageddon” of the movies but rather an emergence into a higher level of human consciousness.
This isn’t what you expected when you clicked on this post, is it?
And yet, I believe it wholeheartedly based on what I’ve seen unfold these last few years. Formulaic and hierarchical approaches to leadership are no longer going to work in this new era. They’re no longer going to motivate followers to pursue your vision or inspire employees to work 12-hour days. Nor will employees of the future feel compelled to follow leaders who lack ethical standards or have a low EQ. They will have too many other choices.
Leadership of the future will come from within, be driven by purpose, and will find its foundation in a connection to the true inner self.
If this sounds like new-age mumbo-jumbo think again. The reason there are so many thriving MBA programs and leadership development courses out there is the innate belief (and possibly subconscious hope) that there is leadership potential within each and every one of us. I believe we are all here for a purpose – to lead something we’re passionate about. That doesn’t mean it will be how we generate our financial income, although it may be, but it will absolutely be how we fulfill the need for self-actualization in our lives.
Our inner knowing about what we’re meant to do in our life comes from connecting to our core – our soul. Time spent by future leaders of the world to truly know who they are and to connect with their higher purpose will lead to them pursuing roles that are an ideal fit for them. When we are in roles that are a perfect fit and that empower us to live our purpose, we work from within ourselves to create astounding results. So, those who think results are all that matter should take note, because in the future they won’t come via demands or through authority but rather from within each of us.
As my energy-healer friend wisely says, “Making money is about knowing who you are.” And as Glen Senk, CEO of the wildly successful retail company Urban Outfitters said in an interview with Knowledge Wharton, “You realize you have to take responsibility for doing what is right for you. You have to live a life you want to lead.”
Senk added that focusing on living what he called an “authentic” life has paid huge dividends. “A lot of my friends who went on to be very successful in investment banking or law or consulting … are not as happy as I am. There is not a day that I don’t wake up bounding out of bed and can’t wait to get to work.”
Being a great leader of the future will require looking within, connecting to your soul, knowing your purpose, and then living your purpose through an authentic life. What this means – and what’s genuinely exciting about this – is the potential for this greatness lies within each of us. Each one of us can, and should be, a leader of the future.
The question for each of us is: “Will we step up to the challenge?”