The Changing Nature of Leadership

Change has become a constant part of our lives over recent years. The disruptions brought about by the global pandemic, industry impacts of the great resignation, and current political environments have each influenced how we work and how we live. For some organisations the ability and willingness to adapt to change has brought positive opportunities with the ability to grow, restructure, diversify, access new markets, and engage employees differently. Many organisations have managed this extremely well, while others have struggled as they continue to prioritise results over people.


The changing nature of work and workplaces demands new thinking around the experience and impact of leadership, with leadership capability and culture remaining key contributors in attracting and retaining quality employees and maintaining and increasing organisational productivity though an engaged workforce. As we move through the pandemic, a focus on human capability and the ability to lead culture and change effectively has enabled many organisations to mitigate risks, develop their competitive advantage, and thrive in uncertain times.


Shifting focus from prioritising results and outputs to prioritising people is about moving from a management mindset to a leadership mindset and requires emotional intelligence (EI), a key characteristic of a good leader.


Emotional intelligence heightens our self-awareness and our awareness of others so we can appropriately manage our behaviours to positively impact others and inspire performance. Being emotionally intelligent provides the confidence to be authentic at work, and it enables us to consider the impact our decisions and behaviours have on people through emotional reasoning.


The benefits of prioritising people over outcomes are infinite and are fuelled by the energy, effort, innovation, relationships, brainstorming, support, and flexibility created by people within teams and organisations. The powerful possibilities and opportunities created by aligned, connected, and emotionally intelligent leaders who inspire the performance and abilities of employees and who are guided in the direction of organisational vision to deliver strategic objectives are limitless, and hold great benefits for organisations.


Changing trends in leadership, the ability to understand the dependencies and impact of culture and leadership, the actions and capabilities of current leaders, the adoption of agile leadership mindsets, and the understanding of how to inspire the performance of others to achieve greater results and mitigate behaviour risks, all have significant impacts on workplace culture, the sustainability of workforces, and the success of our future leaders.


The changing nature of leadership and the rethinking of leadership actions and mindsets indicate a willingness of current leaders to embrace the following notions and positively prioritise human connection.

  • Leadership is about influence, actions, and behaviours rather than position, title, or power

  • The way leaders make employees feel will impact their behaviours, decisions, and performance

  • Leadership capability needs to be developed to meet changing work environments, influences on work, and social expectations

  • Anyone can lead from anywhere in the business

  • Emotional intelligence is an essential leadership capability.

At HENRY REED we support leaders to design efficient workplace culture, inspire performance, and deliver results.


Our 2020 HENRY REED Culture Research Study was conducted to gain an understanding of the impacts on organisation culture during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research revealed that leadership capability and behaviours significantly impacted business risk. The Study further revealed a leadership capability gap across all industry sectors, identifying this as the most significant impact on an organisation’s ability to deliver results and make required changes during the pandemic.


Our 2021 HENRY REED Culture Research Study revealed that, despite the positive response of leaders to implement reactive change and communicate through the pandemic, there remains a need to improve leadership capability in order to lead culture and change effectively. The 2021 Study highlighted the link between the ownership of culture and the enablers and inhibitors of success, along with insights from participating organisations about culture risks and focus areas for the future.


The importance of developing leadership capability to effectively lead culture is often overlooked. The most prominent leadership capability gaps we consistently find are:

  • The ability to effectively give and receive feedback

  • The skills to address difficult situations or conflicts with a growth mindset

  • The capability to build trust across the organisation

  • The ability to provide clarity and simplify things for understanding

  • The application of emotional reasoning when considering the human impact of decision making.

Aligning culture by design with leadership capability development is a powerful way to implement lasting change to enhance organisational effectiveness.


HENRY REED supports organisations through the development of values-aligned leadership capability frameworks, assessing the impact and capability of leadership, implementing emotional intelligence programs, redefining ways of leading and working, and supporting change and development of senior leaders through executive coaching.


To find out how HENRY REED can support your organisation book a time to have a confidential discussion with Georgia Henry, Director or call 1300 266 995.

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