Outsized Responsibilities & Early ID: Trends in global leadership

Like pensions and fidget-spinners, “paying your dues” is a thing of the past. At least in terms of an effective strategy for building leadership. Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report agrees. No need to read the 144-page document to extract their take on the then and now of leadership. After scanning the overview below, consider assessing your mindset. In what ways are my leadership values helpful? How could they be holding me back?

Old Rules of Leadership Emphasize:

Tenure, experience, and business performance

Knowing what to do; bringing judgment and experience to new business challenges

Leading organizations and functions

Training and professional development programs

Diversity of leadership

Assessment based on behavior and style

Working your way up

Assessments, training, coaching, and 360-degree development

And think of leadership as:

Difficult as well as sacrosanct within an organization

New Rules of Leadership Emphasize:

Collaboration, innovation, and ability to lead and connect teams

Early identification of potential

Leading teams, projects, and networks of teams

Knowledge-sharing, risk-taking, culture, and context

Early, outsized responsibilities to test and develop skills

Assessment and development based on thinking patterns and problem-solving ability

Development through simulation and real-world projects

Assessment and training to understand unconscious bias, inclusion, and diversity

And think of leadership as:

A role that all play; everyone has opportunities to be a leader

An Extension of the Old into the New

It’s not that experience or diverse leaders aren’t valuable within these newer views of leadership. I can’t imagine Deloitte ever arguing that. The new values, though, can be seen as an extension. In other words, it’s not enough to be experienced; modern business needs risk-takers and collaborators who can solve problems we aren't even anticipating yet. And diverse leadership is important; but if we view leadership as something everyone engages in at certain times, then the need for broader education in concepts like unconscious bias is more obvious and urgent. (If you doubt that you possess unconscious bias, surprise yourself with Harvard's Project Implicit.)

Now What? Potential Applications

In a Career Transition?

  • Integrate the new rules of leadership into your networking strategy by connecting people you think would enjoy knowing each other. Beyond modeling connected leadership, it will help other grow their networks while keeping you on their radars during a career transition. Bonus: Both strengthening your social circle and engaging in conscious acts of kindness increase happiness which increases productivity and creativity.

  • Outline SMART/CAR/Success Stories that focus on your ability to innovate, collaborate, and problem-solve in unexpected ways. If you’re making a career pivot, make the language more "industry-agnostic." Ex: A healthcare-to-retail pivot could mean a shift from “patients” and “administrators” to “executive leadership” and “clients.

  • Remember that businesses are continually dealing with new problems, so it’s not necessary that you have done the exact job before, or that you have everything on their candidate wish list (aka job description). It’s not your job to decide whether you’re the best person for the role; it’s theirs. Gut check: “What would the best version of myself do here?” If applying or networking comes to mind, get going.


  • Answer this question with as many responses as possible: “What could a fun, ‘outsized’ challenge look like for me?”

  • Who would be interesting to get to know a little better? Develop a collaborative relationship with someone outside of the people you regularly interact with at work.

  • Brainstorm a list of things you could do to make your boss (and company) look better or be more efficient in 2018. Ask her which she thinks would make the biggest impact.

For (Official) Leaders:

  • Stop using the language of “supervision” and switch to thinking and speaking of leadership.

  • Focus your development on problem-solving for actual business problems.

  • Identify one person on your team you’d like to give an outsized responsibility to. Tell her.

Find the section of Deloitte's report specifically focusing on the new rules of leadership in Leadership Disrupted.

Emma Garrett