10 Key Shifts for the Modern Leader

The Modern Leader

Our evolving environment is placing increased demands and challenges on the modern leader.  By modern leader, I mean a leader who is well equipped to navigate the increasingly uncertain, complex and fast changing environment we live in.  The pace of change is accelerating and the amount of change is growing.  Things we couldn’t comprehend are becoming everyday events.  Hardly anyone could have conceived the impact of a pandemic.  In the western United States, wildfire is ravaging millions of acres and thousands of homes and buildings.  Record temperatures increase the likelihood of more to come.

My goal in this article is not to paint a picture of doom.  Rapid change creates opportunities for innovation.  The introduction of mRNA based vaccines, produced in record time, are the most effective ever.  The shift to electric powered vehicles.  Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.  What all of this demands is modern leadership.  This is not the kind of leadership our parents grew up with.  Leadership for that generation was focused on standardization and repeatability.  Finding the formula and then repeating it as efficiently as possible.  Command and control were the axioms of good leadership.

Modern leadership requires major shifts from the traditional leadership of prior generations.  Here are ten shifts that illustrate how modern leaders successfully navigates their new reality.

10 Key Shifts for the Modern Leader

From To
Knowing Learning
Consistency Flexibility
Certainty Uncertainty
Conforming Adaptable
Compliance Commitment
Controlling Experimenting
Directing Coaching
Advocating Listening
Maintaining Challenging
Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset


Some skills are more important than ever

Not everything has changed.  Some facets of traditional leadership remain.  In fact, skills like visioning, goal-setting, accountability, results orientation and good communication are more important than ever.

Are you making the shifts necessary to become an effective modern leader?  I have yet to come across the perfect leader.  We all have something to work on.  The best leaders are those who know it and accept it.  For them, learning and change is a way of life.