A young leader has just become the Prime Minister of our country.  The energy is palpable.  Hope is in the air.  The challenges are incredible.  We’re all waiting to witness a different kind of leadership.

Nick Petrie, Senior Faculty Member with The Center for Creative Leadership (they have a great blog on leadership) wrote a report four years ago called Future Trends in Leadership Development.  Don’t click it now unless you have 15+ minutes and a good cup of coffee.

His report is jam packed with insights on the what the future will demand of leaders, who the leaders will be, and how we develop them. And his conclusion at the end of 35 pages is that the unfolding of leadership development will be like the drunken man stumble.  He predicts we’ll stagger forward in the general direction of a vision, without feeling the need to go anywhere in a straight line.  Apparently this is what business school profs are recommending in these complex times for business planning vs. writing detailed business plans that do a poor job of predicting the future.  

We hear often that the complexity of challenges in companies and organizations (and governments) is unprecedented.  To cope with complexity, Petrie does see emerging trends in leadership development:

  • Growing the mind– Unlike teaching leadership competencies, the way forward leans on the individual to grow their mind. In essence, it is like upgrading to a new operating system to make new meaning of the world. Frameworks like The Leadership Circle Profile can be a first step in self awareness to grow a bigger mind.
  • Owning development– When people feel responsible for their development, it happens faster. We need to help people “into the driver’s seat of their own development”. We need to stop making it the job of HR, managers and OD people.
  • Collective leadership– Leadership has been elitist and focused on key individuals. Changing the question from “who are the leaders?” to “what conditions do we need for leadership to flourish in the network?” will democratize leadership.
  • Innovation in leadership development– A willingness to experiment with approaches that combine ideas in new ways and a willingness to embrace technology and the web will support all of the above.

Trudeau’s victory speech invited us all to lead.  What will we do individually and collectively to grow our mindsets, put ourselves in the driver’s seats of our own development and that of our nation?  What will we do to collectively create the conditions for leadership to flourish–Trudeau’s and our own?  I have some ideas.  




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