For too long, leaders have been working alongside an industrial-age rule book. To be a successful leader in 2023 requires a whole new playbook.
A new speaker on our roster, Dominic Barton recently joined us to share insight into what skills and traits leaders need to succeed in a post-pandemic world. Dominic is the former Canadian Ambassador to China and spent 30 years as a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, with nine of those as their global managing partner.
Having spent decades working with global leaders on both a political and corporate level, Dominic shared three factors that he believes all leaders must hold to find success in the future of work, especially amidst uncertainty and rapid change.
1) Accept Ambiguity
There are no rules to business anymore, Dominic said. Not too long ago, when interest and exchange rates were more stable, business leaders could follow a certain set of rules and find success. But today, nothing is stable.
Operating in a world with no stability and no rules, requires leaders to be comfortable working with ambiguity and leading with first principles, which means having the ability to break down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up.
In the case of leaders, Dominic said it’s important for leaders to have a firm understanding of “who we are” — their mission statement — and then use that as the foundation for strategizing how to thrive in an environment without a playbook.
The constant shifts and changes we are experiencing today are physically and mentally exhausting, Dominic said. Resilience is now a pre-requisite to being a good leader. It is the only way leaders can take change in stride and stay calm in crisis. And crisis, he added, is a fact of life now.
3) Relationship Builders
The third element that defines a quality leader is the ability to authentically connect with others, Dominic said. Authentic being the key word as people today are very good at detecting BS, he added.
Leaders must be able to understand where people are coming from and how this affects their behaviour. It’s now a formidable skill to be able to read and connect with people efficiently and effectively.
While there are many more dimensions to a great leader, Dominic said these are three crucial elements for effective leadership in today’s uncertain world. What’s important to note, he added, is that leadership isn’t an inherent skill; it can be learned and fostered in others.
We have to stop looking at the superficial characteristics of a leader, Dominic said, such as being a good public speaker, because often those can be learned. Instead, look at the core of a person, the character they exhibit, and then build a leader from that by giving them as many experiences as possible in as short a time as possible. This is how you grow a leader, Dominic said. In addition, give them room to take risks and possibly fail as it’s often the setbacks that are the biggest inflection points for us all, he added.
With 30+ years of experience working within the geopolitical and corporate sustainability and governance space, Dominic offers invaluable insights into the state of the world today and how it will impact business moving forward.
Contact us to learn more about Dominic and how his wealth of global business experience can help your audience better navigate today’s changing world.