Are You Preparing to Lead into the Next Decade?

In my first leadership role in a work environment at 24 years old, I was very focused on doing everything by the book, following proper procedures and trying to avoid mistakes at any cost! I was ambitious and wanted very much to succeed. My overriding guiding principle was to do things perfectly the first time and definitely not take too many risks. I soon found out, however, that this standard was impossible to live up to, not only for myself, but especially for my team members.

While I was learning how to become a better manager through the trial and error of on-the-job experience and some early leadership training, I also soon realized that I had to take more qualified risks to truly lead and therefore be prepared for some strategies/or plans to fail. The good news was that by trying to do everything right, I was already learning from the resulting failures, and recognizing the flaw in this leadership style.

As I grew as a leader, and benefited from more leadership training and coaching, my confidence grew. I became a much better people leader, risk taker, and soon was able to leverage my strengths to create win/win solutions for key stakeholders while driving the business forward. It was at this point that I really started enjoying my role and became much more comfortable in my leadership shoes.

What I had yet to learn was how best to truly share power by involving my colleagues early in the decision-making processes. Knowing where to share and what decisions could be owned by other team members was a big step to embrace. This learning would come later for me, as my team and I set out on our grand journey to become A Great Place to Work organization.

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These learnings – creating environments where it is safe to fail, being open to risk taking by championing innovative ideas, new processes and/or technological advancements and, of course, sharing power – all became a part of my fundamental beliefs regarding what I call the “Evolution to 5D Leadership.” In a nutshell, I see the practice of leadership as a continuum that spans from authoritative leadership (3D) to collaborative leadership (4D) to transformative leadership (5D).

It’s not a new concept to view leadership as an evolving practice. Simon Sinek and Ken Blanchard just hosted an amazing session on servant leadership. You’ve probably heard  about this topic as it is trending in leadership communities as part this new leadership evolution.

Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is on the thriving of their company or organization. Ken Blanchard, author of Servant Leadership, sees it as a movement — a shift from leadership that is self-focused to one that is others-focused. He says, “The world is in desperate need of a new leadership model. Too many leaders have been conditioned to think of leadership only in terms of power and control. But there is a better way to lead—one that combines equal parts serving and leading.”

I too believe a new movement is afoot. However, I prefer to use the Transformative Leader model as I believe truly evolved leaders can transform minds, hearts and organizations and that Servant Leadership is one of the ways that leaders do that.

Regardless of the language we use – leadership best practices are evolving. Take some time to invest in your own leadership practice. Get ready to lead in the next decade.

Listen to my Leadership Session on 5D Leadership to learn more about the evolution or visit my website. For other thoughts on leadership, click here.

Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandi Hokansson is a certified executive-level coach and principal of SoundLeadership. Reach her at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

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