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3 Ways To Be An Evolutionary Leader

August 18, 2013


1. Pertaining to evolution or development; developmental: the evolutionary origin of species.

2. Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with a theory of evolution, especially in biology.

3. Pertaining to or performing revolutions.

We are working in new and different times. Work loads are increasing, leaders have more mandates, employees have higher stress, companies are striving to win competitive advantage in a social media crazed reality.

What the world needs now is…… a new way of leading, evolutionary leadership.

An evolutionary leader is constantly evolving, which goes beyond growing and he or she is committed to gathering the intel of the past while providing leadership and inspiration in the present as well as looking to the future and being one step ahead of the pack by being proactive.

Leadership has evolved over the decades as follows:

In the 1950’s and 60’s it was power to be an administrator in leadership where the goal was to get people to conform, there was a clear chain of command, the workplace was stable and predictable and the way to grow talent was through apprenticeship.

In the 1970’s and 80’s it was power as management where leaders role was to approve exceptions, provide Ad Hoc solutions, deal with turbulent changes, react to market conditions and the way to grow talent was through mentoring.

In the 1990’s and 2000’s it was power as leadership where the leaders were visionary, role was to provide real time solutions, sustain success as it had been achieved, position was viewed as a superior role and coaching began to be the form of growing talent and performance.

In 2010 and into 2020 the shift is that leaders have power in their ability to have a network, to be able to integrate a variety of parameters and dynamics in a fast paced and technological workplace, to work with the modern reality of competition which is now global versus local and leaders need the skill set to provide on demand support for their teams as well as to use just in time coaching for talent development and to grow talent through succession plans.

The skill set for leaders today is very different than what was needed in the previous decades, an evolutionary leader has the following skills:

Highly adaptable to changing environments, competitive scenarios, changing employee attitudes, advanced technological solutions, highly intuitive, keen desire to look deeply into people’s psyche to match skills to tasks and the willingness to consistently challenge norms and beliefs in order to transcend past performance.

In looking at the evolution of power and leadership over the decades many leaders are still relying on the skills they have ‘grown up with’ or have used and may be struggling with the current reality of the new evolutionary skills needed to be more effective.

There are three ways to be an evolutionary leader who thrives in these fast paced, technological and highly dynamic times.

1. Self assess– based on the evolution of power where are you in your approach to leadership and power? For example  if you still use power in administration this would mean that you are task focused, you expect others to have the same work values as you , you favour those who are loyal and view job change as disloyal and your communication style is more introspective.

In this example you would be challenged with the current need for leadership as network and you would feel stressed by the ongoing technological changes, the attitude changes of employees and adapting to ongoing fast change.

2. Self realize– an evolutionary leader is committed to evolving and an evolving leader continues to gain self realization. This is where as a leader you recognize patterns of behaviour and thought that are no longer working like they used to. As a self realized leader you see how your approach as a leader is reflected in the people you lead. You see that in your leadership style you have created the results that your team is creating and this reality causes you to look more deeply at your approach and you are willing to be coached in a deeper and more accountable way, guided to authentic leadership and shown how to shift your leadership style to be open, integrative and adaptable.

3. Self actualize– an evolutionary leader strives to become self actualized which means to fully develop leadership potential to higher and higher levels of effectiveness with the sole goal of helping others to become self actualized too. A self actualized evolutionary leader absolutely loves the role of guiding and coaching others to higher and higher skill development, personal development and success. A leader at this place looks forward to the challenges of work and sees all of it as an opportunity for creative solutions. An evolutionary leader has less stress and more excitement as they strive in their every day to make a bigger impact with the people they lead and sees success in every action they take including the time spent helping and growing people.

We are living in amazing times, unprecedented with the speed of change and technological innovations. The only thing that we as leaders can do to continue to thrive is to commit to being an evolutionary leader- its a big commitment but a hugely rewarding one as well.

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