Who will transform the leader of transformations and crises?

You hold in your hands the fate of your country, a company or an organization which is constantly transforming in order to outstand and excel. As a leader of the current era, you have been through fire and iron, facing consecutive and parallel crises that overturned every plan and made you constantly revise and reorganize. You would like some stability and safety now. But you’re not expected to have it. Do you feel ready to manage the crises that follow? What do you still lack in order to be the perfect leader of tomorrow?

Tomorrow is bringing several even more rapidly evolving crises as well as new continuous transformations. Transformations like the ones already redefining the structure of governments, companies, organizations, religions, etc., as well as the abilities and skills of those who lead and are in charge of others in any way, the technological infrastructures, the way of thinking, the mindsets, the education and development of individuals and societies. Constants are shaken, facts change, more and more certainties are gone, threats increase. All of that will continue to happen in the coming years, with greater intensity, causing stronger turbulence.

And as the transformations will coexist with the consecutive crises that are expected, the current era calls for a new generation of leaders, who will have the qualifications and skills required to successfully overcome the combination of these challenges.

The transformational leader who has so far excelled, is called upon to be additionally trained for the management of future crises. And the crisis management leader who has already dealt with the previous crises will have to prepare himself for transformations he has not yet foreseen, including his own. The combination of their qualifications and skills will produce the perfect leader of tomorrow. Their development in this direction will be a substantial investment for the future of the organizations they lead and one of the most critical factors for their evolution.

The transformational leader

Transformational leadership can be distinguished by the way it focuses on empowering everyone and inspiring change. A transformational leader embraces that:

  • Intellectual stimulation encourages innovative thinking by emphasizing new experiences and growth opportunities.
  • Individual thinking creates positive relationships, guiding employees and helping each person understand their own value and potential.
  • Inspired motivations shape a vision for the organization, the team and the partners, allowing them to imitate and create their own vision.
  • Positive influence shapes expectations and actions for the employees, gaining their trust and respect.

The transformational leader is open to new thinking, has a talent to make other people’s minds expand, and is committed to active listening. He/she demonstrates risk tolerance when risks can be quantified, willingness to take responsibility, trust in team members and ability to inspire participation.

And yet, all these personal assets, as critical as they are for planning and achieving change, will not be enough when countries, companies, organizations will have to adapt to the rapid transformations that societies and the entire world will undergo, through continuous parallel crises that tomorrow is bringing.

Critical shortages of natural resources, extreme weather and geological events, drastic changes of the planet system, emergence of multiple conflicts around the planet, forced migrations, upheavals in geopolitical balances, new economic recessions, shortages of personnel, social polarization, adverse effects of new technologies and concentration of technological power in the hands of fewer and fewer players, are some of the most serious risks that are, most certainly, expected to define the future. All these possible events are included in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks report 2024 and are predicted to test the resilience of societies, individuals and companies to the extreme by 2034.

The crisis management leader

All societies, organizations, companies etc, have already been tested under similar conditions, even if to a lesser extent, especially in recent years. As a result, we can now distinguish the characteristics of the leaders who stand out for successfully bringing optimal results under unprecedented conditions.

So, today, we can say that a successful crisis management leader has to:

  • Take part in crisis management on time.
  • Have confidence in him/herself. To be a role model and make decisions based on facts.  To begin with, this attitude requires self-confidence.
  • Have empathy. He/she must have a good sense of his/her team and recognize what its members need, especially in times of crisis that bring uncertainty and weakness.
  • Promote creativity. Creativity is the key to overcoming a crisis and achieving the necessary reorganization after it’s gone.
  • Communicate systematically. Especially in times of crisis, it’s especially important to communicate with everyone at all levels — clearly, calmly, and truly.
  • Remain cool. Because with fear he/she will not avoid mistakes. He/she will make mistakes. The less threatened we feel, the more space we have to think over different scenarios and act strategically. The more we feel threatened, the less room for action and creativity is left in our brain.
  • Have stamina (perfect mental, psychological and physical state).
  • Remain committed to truth and honesty.
  • Have an excellent and solid personal reputation that inspires trust, authority, and hope.

The manifesto of the outstanding leader

The leader that everyone will need and look for, in the age of continuous parallel crises, will be someone who simultaneously embodies the qualifications of both the transformational leader and the crisis management leader.

Consequently, the sum of the qualifications and skills of the transformational leader and the crisis management leader constitutes the manifesto of the outstanding leader, today and for many years ahead.

He/she will be the leader entitled to be called genius and crazy. He/she will stand out for the ability to overcome the most unexpected and unthinkable obstacles with intelligence and inspiration, paving the way for the country, the company, the organization, the religion or the group he/she is leading.

Obviously, these qualifications and skills cannot be acquired during a weekend. They cannot be covered in a seminar or a few days training program. They require intensive work of each leader with himself, time, patience and, above all, a lot of practice.

Continuous practice is the crucial factor that ensures the result. It prepares the leader, both in terms of upgrading his personal qualifications and skills and in relation to the changing needs forced by the constant transformation and the continuous crises, the ones already happening and those that will follow.

The set of skills required is not something a leader should pull out of his/her first aid kit only when an emergency occurs. It is the combination of basic skills that characterize great leaders in their daily activities. It is the same set of skills that should be used even during peaceful times, assuming there are or will ever be peaceful times.

The love brand leader believes that everything is possible. The negative possibilities as well as the critical and the superlatives ones. And he/she prepares him/herself for all these possibilities at the same time. He/she does that even by turning all of them into superlatives!