In times of crisis, the need for leadership grows even more perceptibly and the lack of leadership does not go unnoticed. At the business level, the decisions you make will not only make or break a company, but will have direct and lasting effects on people’s lives.

Approaching leadership in times like these requires first and foremost a complete change in mindset. When leaders are asked to act in known circumstances, it can work to give their all until their last breath for the team, for the benefit of the Company.

But in times of profound uncertainty like these, for leaders to spot icebergs and recognize hidden opportunities, what they need is not resistance, but judgment.

In this environment, what also happens is that verticality loses strength in favor of horizontality. Each of us is called to be part leader, or at least to behave like one. In a connected and networked world, which has gained more strength than ever, collective skills cannot be underestimated but should be profoundly empowered. It is time to strengthen the role of leaders by democratizing a broader vision of the concept of leadership.

Is a leader born or made?

This is an old debate, based on the idea that leaders are those people with a charismatic way of being, who inspire others to follow them. This is a personality-based view of leadership, something that companies offered to those with “high potential,” who had the inner capabilities to become leaders for others.

But things are changing, gradually but surely. The concept of a hierarchical, vertical relationship between “leaders” and “followers” or “managers” has become less and less descriptive of the new business world. In their place emerge networks, cobwebs, relationships, alliances, collaborations, joint ventures, ecosystems, cultures, and communities. Leadership is thus shared.

It is not something that applies only to digital companies, it is already being integrated into the industry in general, based on global sourcing, modular supply chains, etc.

What this means for leadership is simple but profound: the essential relationships are no longer the vertical relationships contained within corporate silos, but the horizontal ones that link people across organizational boundaries. The new leadership is not vertical, it is horizontal.

This forces us to reconsider our own definition of leadership: the leader doesn’t try to get people to follow him, but to make things happen. And they happen by generating movement around a common goal, aligning teams, sharing beliefs and attitudes. Horizontal leadership skills dovetail with influence, persuasion, trust, and integrity. Particularly with integrity.

4 KEY IDEAS FOR NEW LEADERSHIP

Betting on change and opening your mind

Building on what you know is simple. Developing on trends is predictable. Creating on top of the unknown requires a change of mindset. The best strategy is to think big.

New Normal Requires New Stability

It’s common to focus on mistakes and get into negative thoughts. It establishes new rules and structures that help move forward and find new stability. It incorporates flexibility, agility, empathy, and collaboration.

Transparency breeds legitimacy

Transparency and honesty, far from making you vulnerable, are essential to generate a feeling of trust and legitimacy.

Don’t wait for an opportunity, create it

To find an opportunity, it is necessary to start from a proactive and not a reactive attitude. Success comes by finding opportunities in the midst of problems.

Finally, it should be noted that the ultimate purpose of any leader is to develop the personal transformation necessary to help transform society. Changing one’s perspective on oneself will streamline the entire process.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward

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