More and more companies are focusing on mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Just a trend, or do organizations need a new form of leadership in times of digitalization? Mounira Latrache is the co-founder of Connected Business, helping teams to prepare their culture, skills, and leaders for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We spoke to her about some leadership questions:
What is the future of leadership?
Complexity and speed have increased dramatically, and it will continue to do so. We are experiencing an evolution of machines, and for that, we will need an evolution of man. This shows a positive side effect, the people are put back into the center. Therefore, leadership is not so much about making all the important decisions and being strong all the time, but about empowering people. A leader cannot be an expert on all issues because of today's complexity, so it's becoming increasingly important to empower the team, stay out of the way, and only be there when an employee truly needs support. Leadership thus shifts more and more into being of service: the step from I to WE.
What new skills do we need for this new era of work?
In order to lead others in a way that empowers them it is important for us to first empower ourselves. We need to develop self-leadership - a way of finding our inner compass in busy times. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has always been important but today more than ever. The ability to develop self-awareness is key. Emotional Intelligence does not stop there - according to Daniel Goleman self-awareness builds the foundation for us to develop empathy and social skills to work with others.
The AQ “agility quotient” is another important skills we hear about lately - it covers the resilience and ability to deal with constant changes while keeping an eye on what is important for ourselves as person, the team and the organisation.
What has compassion to do with business?
Compassion is the ability to empathize with others combined with the deep desire to be of service for the greater good.
If a leader can put her-/himself in true service of a team - the team can step into an empowered way of working. This does not mean to be soft, actually it needs a lot of courage since it means to step up when things do not go in a way that is of service, it means to name the elephant and to not avoid the shadows.
A leadership approach that distills compassion has much more to do with a different embodiment than with the tasks - it shows a commitment towards treating every human being with respect and to find a way to stay human centred even in difficult situations. And it needs the leader to be aware of their own stuff in order to get out of their own way. This approach creates psychological safety for the team and creates trust for people to stay innovative in unpredictable times.
Can everybody learn these new skills?
Science suggests that our brains are plastic, so we could say - everyone of us can shape their own software. Whatever we focus on on a regular base becomes how we think and over time who we are. It also suggests that we can develop abilities like emotional intelligence by training the specific areas in our brain.
Companies like Google have researched to understand what makes a team successful. And one of the findings was: psychological safety. This comes from the trust that every person within a team can be as they are, that is why Connected Business offers mindfulness trainings for leaders of the future - to support them in creating a culture of trust, compassion, diversity and authenticity. And to go from self-leadership to co-leadership - which is the embodiment of what an agile working style really means.
Interview with Mounira Latrache
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Compassionate Leadership - Leading Teams of the Future with Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.