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5 Leadership skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Getting to grips with the exponential impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sooner rather than later, should be a priority for every leader no matter what business they are in. In our last post in the ALT to Reboot Leadership Series, we noted how cyber-physical systems, automation and the Internet of Things are combining to create exponential growth for businesses. Here is a bit more detail on the factors at play in a 4.0 system:

  • People, devices, machines and sensors connect and communicate

  • Virtual copies of the physical world are created, allowing for better contextualisation of information

  • Technical assistance helps humans with decisions and tasks that are difficult or dangerous

  • Autonomous decision making (decentralising decisions) starts with simple decisions being taken by cyber-physical systems[1].

The skills and experience to implement these systems are severely lacking. Organisations have what the World Economic Forum calls a ‘triple investment’ to make in reskilling: reskilling at-risk workers, upskilling the broader workforce and building structures for a learning organisation[2].

Given our focus in the leadership space, in this blog we wanted to lift out a set of requirements for leaders that resonate strongly for us, defined by Adjunct Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, Richard Jolly.

  1. Communication – that is effective and authentic in a world of information overload and hype

  2. Reflection – to pause and make sense of what sometimes seems like chaos around us, and to learn from what we observe so that we apply it to the next ‘round’

  3. Emotional intelligence – fostering collaboration and community, and for preventing burnout

  4. Creativity – as Peter Drucker notes, this is the new currency at work, as leaders we are tasked with setting the conditions for creativity to flourish at work

  5. Passion – enabling employees to live their passion at work, and creating environments that are inclusive so that everyone makes a contribution to solving problems and innovating.

“At a time of enormous technological change, individuals will succeed based on their most human traits.” – Richard Jolly

This is the fourth blog in our ALT to Reboot Leadership Series. Visit our website to read blogs one, two and three.

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