What will be the defining leadership style of the 2020s?

Written by Emma Molloy Wednesday 07 December 2022
In the past 2,000 years we’ve moved through classical, transactional and transformational leadership. What about now? Do we need to rethink again? A group of CMI Companions discuss where modern leadership needs to be going
Three boats being coxed by a leader with a whip, a leader cheering their team on, and a leader directing from the front

Over the course of the 20th century, leadership has metamorphosed time and again: from the classical idea that great leaders are born not made; through authoritative, transactional leadership; to a more inspirational and motivational transformational style. With the turn of the millennium came yet another new approach to leadership: more facilitative, collaborative, authentic, people-centred, “organic”.

Transformational leadership model

Now we may have reached another turning point where we need to rethink the blueprint of management and leadership once more. Recently, at a roundtable facilitated by Nigel Girling CMgr CCMI, Head of Professional Qualifications at Inspirational Development Group, a group of CMI Companions discussed what might come next. 

“I see many organisations using the same criteria, job descriptions, interview techniques and interview questions as if they were looking for the leaders that they were looking for 20 years ago – and that worries me,” says Nigel. “The world had already moved on significantly long before we even got to a pandemic. We now have organisations full of people who are very good at things we don’t need as much as we used to, and we need more of the things that they may not be quite as good at.”

So if the motto of the 1980s was command-and-control, and the buzzword of the 2010s was authenticity – what should the blueprint of the 2020s be? And how will this shift happen? Nigel put this question to a peer-learning session of CMI Companions…

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