Germaine Siegfried, Principal, Switzerland

One of my first jobs after graduating from university was as an IT project consultant for a large financial organization. At that time leaders didn’t put much emphasis on the impact of their behavior. From military style to the opposite: ‘laissez faire’, it was taken for granted that employees would be motivated - and act accordingly.

In the 90’s, management seminars became trendy. Managers (or leaders) should invest time in their employees and ‘deal’ with them. However, training tended to focus more on the functional or factual aspect of co-working, less on personal development and insights. Later on it became obvious that relationship-building, co-creation and collaboration would lead to successful teams, and type indicators such as Myers-Briggs were applied to try and understand individuals and collaboration in teams.

As I moved on in my career, also working abroad, I experienced different stages of leadership development or comprehension between industries and geographical scope and particularly with regard to cultural diversity. However it became increasingly obvious that true leaders reflect on their behavior and its impact on employees and on other stakeholders. Sustainable success is dependent on teams.

What’s next?

Innovation and creativity will be the business drivers for the decades to come. The refreshment of mind-set, transformational leadership, reflection, individual development and the unfolding of potential will be on the agenda. So too will self-learning organizations and the involvement of clients and suppliers in developing products and services. The demand for constant change from individuals, employees and leaders, whilst still remaining oneself: this will be the challenge of tomorrow. But also the way we work will change drastically, with flexible working hours and places. Finally, leaders and their teams are more visible in the world of especially digital transparency, and new threats will accompany that, cyber attacks being just one of them.

Germaine Siegfried, Principal, Switzerland