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Inspirational Leaders Needed to Create Future of Work

Cheryl Cran

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The increasing speed of digital transformation is putting more pressure on leaders and teams than ever before.

To fully realize the future of work, companies have to make bold and difficult changes to their internal cultures and reinvent how people and strategy are interlinked. This requires inspirational leaders.

Internal cultures are led and created by the current leadership. The companies that will win are the ones that have leadership teams that view people and strategy as one.

Work is changing and will continue to change driven by dramatic and irreversible trends in digital and in workforce preferences.

Leaders need to be ready to lead in a new and evolving workplace. The skills needed for leaders to lead in the future landscape include flexibility, agility, adaptability, and the ability to inspire others.

Workers, regardless of their generation, are looking for leaders who are willing to help them grow, learn, and succeed.

In the past, leaders would hire workers for jobs and expect those workers to do the job as outlined. If the worker did the jobs as outlined then the leader would give a good performance review.

Those days are quickly disappearing as today the worker is seeking to do work that is engaging and has a purpose. Leaders need to provide 'work,' not 'jobs' that inspire and leverage the workers' skills and abilities.

Today, companies are struggling with attracting and keeping talented people, and the solution lies in having leaders who can inspire.

Seventy-seven percent of employees surveyed stated that they want to work for companies that are focused on people first. (Gartner)

Seventy percent of companies state that their people are not future ready. (Adecco Group)

In order for companies to be future ready now, the focus needs to be on the leadership and their ability to inspire others. The future requires inspirational leaders.

Here are a few quick questions to ask regarding the leadership in your company:

1. Are we able to keep our high-performing talent for longer than three years on average?
2. When people leave our company, is it because of culture?
3. Are our leaders working in partnership with HR to ensure our company is focused on people first?
4. Do our leaders provide real time feedback and ongoing coaching for our teams?

The answers to these questions can help illuminate whether your company has inspirational leaders or whether you are an inspirational leader.

What does it mean to be an inspirational leader?


  • The leader cares about people, values his or her teams, and focuses on 'people first'
  • The leader coaches his or her teams consistently on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
  • The leader invests time in finding ways to help team members learn, grow, and succeed
  • The leader engages and asks for input on projects and work on an ongoing basis
  • The leader looks to be evaluated by his or her team and looks for honest feedback to become a better leader
  • The leader holds workers accountable to high standards of performance and provide regular helpful feedback
  • The leader takes care of challenging people situations and poor performance issues in a fair way
  • The leader consistently communicates the vision, the mission, and how everyone fits in to the vision and mission
  • The leader models integrity, efficiency, and willingness to learn with his or her teams


The future of work is now—organizations need to be providing their leaders with the skills and abilities needed to increase employee buy-in, engagement, and loyalty. Future of work requires inspirational leaders.

Cheryl Cran is a future-of-work expert and the founder of NextMapping.com, a future-of-work research and consulting firm that helps leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs be future-ready.

She is the author of six books, including her new one due out at the end of 2018 titled
, NextMapping—How Great Leaders Inspire People to Create the Future of Work.

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