What will Leadership Look Like in the Future

I recently wrote a blog post a few days ago about IBM and IBM’s Watson. You can view this post by clicking here. Also, I recently wrote a blog post about the role of leaders. You can view this post on leadership by clicking here.

Writing and thinking about these two topics got me doing what I did best – doing nothing but going for a walk and thinking. I felt these two topics were somehow interconnected. I wasn’t sure how. I started thinking about the future, and the past. My role as a leader and my leadership skills have changed drastically since I was younger. What i knew about leadership has developed to a people- and society-focused philosophy. I think the world’s understanding of leadership has, too. In another 20 years (the span of my current lifetime), what will I think about my role as a leader today, in 2013? Will leadership look similar? Will we even be leading people anymore?

Watson and IBM

Researching and writing about Watson and IBM, I learned he is taking over some call centres. He is advanced and smart enough to understand humans and try to meet their needs. He is replacing call centre agents and is taking more calls from customers and consumers with questions and concerns. Also, advancements in Technology is helping doctors diagnose patients more accurately and quicker.

If I am the manager of a call centre, I must think, who (or what) am I going to be leading and managing? Machines? Robots?

As I joked about in a previous blog post, with more machines and computers, a new industry will develop. A specialized janitor service. Cleaning the dust from mega-computers and servers. Instead of machines helping us, we will be keeping them functioning. I will then be leading a team of new-age janitors who understand the special and sensitive needs of computers.

Workplace Leadership

There are many good leaders in the workplace. Many individuals leadership roles are in the workplace. However, as work forces downsize and turn to building and maintaining machines instead of serving humans, perhaps there will be less opportunity for leadership in the workplace.

When there is an issue or decision that must be made, this is an opportunity for an employee (a face of the organization) to take a leadership role. Bring together his colleagues and brainstorm and implement a solution. Could this form of leadership disappear as we plug our problems into machines who do special analysis to give us the best decision. This is a great example of someone within the ranks (as leadership is not about what position you hold) being able to take a key leadership role and help positively change their employer. With machines, will this type of leader be extinct?

The Future

I do not have an answer to my own question, what will leadership look like in the future.

I hope it still involves working with and serving others. Involves exercising our brain muscles to serve some of the world`s problems. It is still about ethics and optimism and good change.

Being a leader is about serving others. Not about serving machines.


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Adam Goodwin is changing the world by growing the local #TakeTheActivePledge to a global movement. He is currently Marketing Coordinator for Okanagan Elite Athlete. Along with his start-up one3ag, he is changing the lives of individual children, teen, youth, adults, and older adults with the #TakeTheActivePledge movement. Join him today to help save a generation.




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