The rise of the new age leader

Sue Brooks
Chief Innovation Officer
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The rise of the new age leader: creative, collaborative and willing to learn

There was a time when the most lucrative and powerful leadership positions were more often than not given to the most experienced members of the company. Even for those with great ideas and a natural gift for forward thinking, responsibility was earned through years of experience and alignment with the organisation’s culture.

However, according to our Ochre House White Paper, developed in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the popular view of leadership is in transition due to the current volatility and instability of the staffing market which is forcing companies to consider a fresher approach. One that is open to new ideas, recognising waste as an essential part of the process and valuing inductive rather than reductive thinking.

This current period of uncertainty could prove an exciting time for emerging talent with ambitions to become leaders and managers. As the value of knowing the tried and tested ways of a company decreases, employees are less likely to be held back by lack of experience. Knowledge of the market may have been vital in the past, but now it can only go so far in an unpredictable environment.

Instead, human resources professionals must now find leaders with the intellectual capacity to understand seemingly random market dynamics, spot patterns and make decisions on how to position the firm for the future. Most importantly, they need to reflect on their intellectual knowledge and unlearn what is no longer relevant for the future. This will give the emerging generation an opportunity to thrive as businesses take more risks.

The days of the all-powerful boss making every decision appear to be numbered. Organisations are discovering that this is an important time to recognise leadership, not as an authoritarian approach to direction setting, but as a collaborative and coaching orientated activity designed to facilitate insight and learning from others. This new form of knowledge sharing will be highly beneficial to those with a lot of ability but perhaps low in experience.

So what does this mean for resourcing teams?

Instead of sourcing experienced managers, companies are now expected to engage with leaders with great learning capacity and the boldness to try new ideas. They need a pool of good communicators who can bring together employees rather than ruling with an iron fist. But, most importantly, companies need leaders who can base judgements not on what has happened in the past, but what will happen in the future.


About Sue Brooks

About Sue Brooks

I am one of the founders of, and Executive Vice President for, global talent acquisition and management specialist, Cielo. Overseeing all corporate strategy implementation and direction, I am responsible for the fulfilment of the company's mission to deliver transformational value to our clients measured in terms of increased productivity and business performance.

I am also a speaker and workshop facilitator on a broad range of HR topics and considered a champion of the adoption of talent programmes to spearhead growth. In 2001 I launched the global Cielo HR Director Network, an extended think-tank of over 650 senior HR professionals from major companies which meets regularly to share best practice and new thinking in talent management.


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