Another decade is in the books, and we are officially on our way into a brave new world in 2020. The 2010s saw a revolution in management practices and methodologies, and we are likely to see even faster development in that area in the near future.

Agile Scrum Master Certification, Lean principles, Six Sigma Certification and other philosophies provided new ways of viewing ourselves as leaders and improved strategies for getting things done. We can only guess what the future may hold, but by taking in all that we have learned from these and other modern ideas, we can develop an overall strategy on how to be a better leader in 2020.

Better leadership will always be key to success

Leading Over Managing

Generally speaking, managers often get a bad reputation as being the ones who tell other people what to do. While this is a partially accurate – if over-generalized – description of management, it is only a very small part of leading.

One prevailing principle in modern practices is focusing on leading, rather than managing. Managers generally focus on how things work, whereas leaders are interested in what matters and why it matters. Leaders seek to have a deeper understanding of their projects, businesses, teams, and goals, compared to managers who simply seek to get things done.

While there is nothing wrong with championing productivity and focusing largely on the most efficient ways to get things done, a better leader will seek to understand why things work as they do, and they are therefore in a better position to find new ways of reaching goals. In addition to providing improved insight into your job, focusing on leading over managing will also give a new perspective on your team and many other areas of your business.

The Two-Way Street of Communication

While we all know that communication consists of both talking and listening, leaders often end up focusing more on the former element. This is understandable since much of what we do is based around directing, instructing, delegating and generally trying to get our point across.

However, a growing trend in leadership circles is a greater focus on listening. This goes back to the above-mentioned principle, as good leaders are seeking better ways of understanding different elements of their business. We need to be able to listen to input from a number of sources and keep an open mind if we hope to improve.

Additionally, listening to your team members will also help you identify better ways of talking to them. Getting to know your individual team members in this way is important, as different individuals have motivations, perspectives and ways of learning. 

Data-Driven Leadership

We live in an age of constant analysis, and there are countless data points that can be measured, weighed and utilized to improve the efficiency of your team and your overall effectiveness as a leader. You must be willing to embrace this analysis and be flexible enough to make changes based on the data you gather.

Flexibility will be a key trait in any good leader in the future, as technology moves at a faster pace, processes constantly improve and more data provides new insights into every area of business and life. While you have undoubtedly developed many ideas and practices that have benefited you throughout your career, but you must always be on the lookout for improvements and more effective tactics.

While no one can say for sure what the future holds, we do know that each of us can strive to be a better leader in 2020 and beyond. By focusing on leadership, listening and analysis, you can set a good foundation for improvements in the future.

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