The article by Henry Doss, in Forbes highlights, Innovation: Five keys to educating the next generation of leaders. He points out that the focus of future leaders needs to be innovation, problem solving and opportunity. One of Henry Doss’ concerns is the lack of leadership development in education.
The question is, does leadership need to change, to meet the needs of innovation in the future, within an ever fast-paced environment?
Over history, we have been able to note the same key principles and attributes of leaders, when compared over time. It is not the leadership principals that need to be changed, but rather the way in which that leadership is administered. For example, good communication has always been key to good leadership, however the difference today is not whether or not we value communication, it is simply how we choose to communicate in the future. It may have been acceptable to use pigeon post in the past, while we might have the expectation of our leaders to be more available by way of their smartphones in the future. The core leadership principles still remain the same.
Should the way we lead stay the same in the future?
While the leadership principles remain the same, there are many different leadership models on how to lead. The most common leadership structure has always been hierarchical, where directors instruct and give orders from the top down. Successful leadership models in the future will need to generate ideas collaboratively from their team and empower others to implement their ideas on a more even playing field. Teamwork is key and dictatorships are being challenged by a new generation of leaders.
How do we educate for change and innovation?
Encourage children to develop deeper thinking skills through problem solving and invention. We want children to overcome the fear of failure and have the curiosity to seek out new opportunities. This idea of seeking out new ideas, without pre-qualifying them is a liberating experience that can be the catalyst for invention. One can always analyse and qualify an idea later at the drawing board. The emphasis on invention and creativity will become imperative, for the longevity of an organization in the future.
How will we teach the next generation these skills of the future?
Dialogue together as a community. Discuss and decide on what these leadership principles and skills might be. Place these leadership principles and skills in the heart of shared social values in the community. Create context within learning experiences that are meaningful to students, teaching children how to connect appropriately with each other and with the world around them. Be a good role model of good leadership qualities and character. Be a good team player - roll up your sleeves and working alongside your students.
In this way you will foster heartfelt leadership that is democratic and values based; leadership that respects and serves others towards the common good; leaders that can be innovative and creative. These are the leaders of the future.