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What it takes to be a great leader in 2024 

Recommendations on what it will take.



Your Leadership Action Plan

 

As we navigate these transformative times, the role of a leader becomes more complex, yet exciting. The future of leadership is not about discarding traditional practices, but about evolving and integrating them with new, more dynamic approaches. By understanding and embodying the various mindsets, attributes, and skills, leaders can not only steer their organizations towards success, but also foster a more engaged, innovative, and resilient workforce. 

 

Events Impacting Business Growth 

 

First, let’s look at what’s driving the changes for leaders. 2023 was a year that brought slow economic growth, high inflation, a very tense geopolitical stage and workforce shortages. What are leaders paying careful attention to in 2024?   


  • The global political stage – alliances and rivalries 

  • Investment and adoption of AI, and the safety and security involved 

  • Supply chain concerns about resilience by de-risking global interdependencies 

  • Concern for the top three commodities – critical minerals, food and water 

  • Sustainability strategies and the green economy 

 

 

Executives now face a distillation as they look at the global stage and draw a line back to their company to see what will have a direct impact on growth and success. A recent report by McKinsey summarized what should be included in every leaders’ strategy for 2024. 


  • Outcompete with technology 

  • Beat the odds of geopolitics 

  • Support middle managers 

  • Navigate the road to courageous growth 

  • Find the company’s superpower  


Implications for leaders 

 

Yesterday's leadership skills do not serve tomorrow’s leadership mandate. As a leader, the question now is, “What do you carry with you, and what do you need to let go of?” This leads to the most important question, “What do you need to upskill?” 


Building on primary research we completed, validated by our deep leadership development consulting and executive coaching work, these are the three themes we believe that executives and boards need to incorporate into strategy, planning and execution. 

 

  1. Learning and change agility as the workforce and its change complexity is unprecedented and leaders haven’t prepared enough. It’s important for leaders to adopt a point of view on what the future holds, embrace being uncomfortable, and be flexible to a future that presents itself differently.  

  2. Soft skills are dominant in leadership and, as a result, are no longer ‘soft,’ but a rather imperative skill. 

  3. Inner work done by a leader to work on themselves yields optimal business results for their change and results plan. 

 

Let’s take a deeper look to understand how these trends impact your leadership and business.  

 

1. The new leadership mandate 

 

It’s universal; the workforce is changing. There’s an accelerating need to assess your readiness for adapting to the generational dynamics that are responsible for this changing workforce. It is changing how we, as leaders, lead. The changing workforce is driving a new leadership mandate.  

The fact, by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. So, it’s not just a shift that’s on the horizon; it's already underway. 

 

We refer to this leadership demographic shift as "Crossover Leadership” (see image below), and it’s marked by the transition of leadership from baby boomers and Gen Xers, to millennials and Gen Zs. It demands the focused attention of CEOs and executives due to its profound impact on organizational culture, operational dynamics, and future strategic planning. This generational shift incorporates a diverse array of values, expectations, and technological proficiencies that fundamentally alters the leadership landscape. CEOs and executives will need to adapt their strategies and styles to harness these new capabilities and viewpoints. This adaptation is not merely a response to the changing workforce, but a strategic imperative to stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly evolving business environment.  

  

Embracing and effectively managing this transition will be crucial. The right leadership will foster innovation, enhance employee engagement, and ensure the seamless continuity and long-term success of the organization in a world where agility, technological adeptness, and a deep understanding of diverse generational dynamics are key drivers of success. 



 

We are tracking this leadership shift and getting our clients ready for it. We believe it shows the need for a dynamic, multi-generational approach to leadership development. It underscores the importance of understanding and bridging generational differences to build a robust, forward-thinking leadership model suitable for the challenges and opportunities of the modern business world. 

We are set to release our findings of our bespoke research project: The Future of Leadership. It presents the demographic shift research that’s happening at the leadership table. In this research, we identify that one of the biggest shift changes coming is the leadership experience. Sign up here for a copy of our findings. 

 

 

2. Excelling with soft skills 

 

There is an importance being placed on leaders having soft skills. In fact, it’s now part of the definition of leadership. Below is Pivotal Growth’s point of view on four soft skills that leaders must master. We’ll be evolving our diagnostics to measure them. 

 

Resilience: Sustain the mental strength and optimism to learn from mistakes, focus, decisively to make decisions, remain composed and maintain a relentless pursuit of success. 

Strategy: Know your business, hold a point of view on trends, make accurate decisions and comfortably work without precedent. 

Change leadership: Have a strategic, proactive, and people-centric approach to change management. Step in with intentional leadership presence that leverages inspirational influence, high-performing teams, and communications. Maintain a disciplined focus on successful change.  

Engaging others: Achieve high-impact conversations and relationships by being accurately self-aware and possessing strong interpersonal skills. Use style flexibility to communicate and interact with diverse personalities. 




 

3. Leadership begins with inner work  

 

Our 2023 work saw a higher percentage of leaders experiencing lower self-confidence. All of the above are actions and activities that build self-confidence. The culprits that steal self-confidence are an unmanaged self-critic and getting caught in one’s head with negative self-talk or over thinking. Accurate self-knowledge and self-awareness insights are essential to managing your business.  

 

Here are two areas to focus on in this regard. 

 

1. Learning and development 

 

Leaders credit higher levels of success through development opportunities with: 


1) Strengthening through action learning 

2) Exposure to senior management 

3) Working on strategic goals 

4) Personal development, which includes planning, training, networking,  

 best practices sharing 

5) External coaching 

 

These are ranked in order of impact 

 

(Linkage Inc. Best Practices in Leadership Development Handbook) 

 

2. Measuring leadership effectiveness 

 

It’s become imperative for leaders to access an accurate reflection of their influence within a company. Their internal lens for how they see their success and status of relationships within a company is sometimes different than the external lens held by employees. Current research shows that the external lens, the employee, is almost more important. Self-assessment and feedback can be measured to assess (McLean & Company, 2022):  


  • Environment: Create an environment that fosters growth and strong values. Build a team of strong and capable people. 

  • Attitude: Understand the attitudes among employees. 

  • Objectives: Be held accountable and achieve strategic objectives and growth metrics. 

  • Results and profitability: Lead a profitable company. 

 

Other forms of measurement to consider include: OKR (Objectives and Key Results), team growth, employee confidence, customer experience, employee engagement, inner and outer game, employee inspiration, employee success, and management + mentorship. 

 

How We Can Help 

 

Now that you’re thinking about what it’ll take for leaders and your team to thrive in 2024, we’d welcome the opportunity to help you strategize, measure, design and implement your leadership development strategy and program. 

 

Drilling down into leadership strategy and systems, Pivotal Growth is focused on supporting our clients with the below.  

  1. Millennial leadership: working with or being one 

  2. Working as hybrid teams and organizations 

  3. Change leadership skills 

  4. Developing more effective soft skills 

  5. Incorporating more purpose  

  6. Meaningful relationships 

  7. Having difficult conversations 

  8. Managing execution and performance 

  9. Leader wellness 

  10. Diversity, equity and inclusion impact 

 

Continue to invest in your people, leader insights and leadership development solutions. Here’s to a successful 2024! 

 

Learn more about Pivotal Growth’s approach to data-drive leadership development programming. Our leadership tools that support this work include baseline assessment, and custom hybrid 360-feedback aligned to executive leader personas. 

 


 


Headshot of Lisa Haydon

Lisa W. Haydon is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 30 years of operational experience leading teams in banking, capital markets, technology and professional services. Lisa’s instinct for sorting through business complexities, understanding distinctive leader personalities, and realizing results compelled her to leave a corporate career and become an entrepreneur.


Her company, Pivotal Growth,  introduced a technology tool for leadership development assessment and planning. The suite of tools offers diagnostic capabilities to synthesize and accelerate people performance.

Lisa’s skills and the Pivotal Growth product help companies enhance their performance and support leaders achieving greater confidence and success.


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