Today's businesses face new challenges when developing leadership talents in this generation of wired, multitaskers. While the tenants of basic leadership development remains the same, we must address at least three new competencies, change, creativity, and global diversity.
Today's emerging employees are wired for technological change, they have moved from wireless devices that five years ago were primarily telephones to the current tools that incorporate email, photos, music, and so forth. Today's successful worker needs to predict the changes that will impact their world in order to beat the competition.
Leadership training modules should include activities that enable our leaders to become aware of their own personal style of resisting change and to recognize these traits in others. The leadership curriculum should teach the signs of resistance and show how to structure interventions that combat this resistance.
Leadership training programs also should include a communication plan that dileneates who they will communicate to, when, and how.
Creativity is the foundation of innovation and innovation, in turn, drives change. And change is a key to business success.
Remember cultural differences
Activities that demonstrate how other cultures work, and how these preferences manifest themselves, are essential. Training activities should put young leaders in situations that mimic other cultures and demonstrate how to react.
Text messaging, blogging, podcasting, and so forth are today's communication and learning tools. Incorporate them into leadership development programs, making sure to match the learning delivery with the learners' style and skills. Two examples are:
- Push leadership development information via iPods, busy learners could listen when on the run.
- Create a business leaders' blog that lists personal leadership tips. Young leaders who recently completed a learning experience together could maintain contact and cement their business network with an online social network.
Learning no longer needs to be formal or classroom-based. Learning can be informal, and self organized. We have moved beyond the industrial age of classroom settings into the knowledge age, and all the knowledge is digitally stored and transmitted.