Work is a construct of the human mind; we each see the world through our own personal lens, and this in turn reflects the way each of us processes information and drives our behaviour.

Conventional leaders in organisations are those who are comfortable with the assumption that all problems can be resolved by looking to the past, in other words, they assume known solutions will work in the future. They apply first-level thinking; focusing on solving immediate problems and generate a much simpler representation of the complexity in which we are all embedded. They are comfortable following the crowd and applying the latest trends. However, taking a ‘business as usual’ approach has its limitations. As Albert Einstein said, ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’.

Then there are progressive leaders who are interested in change and progress. They like to think up new ways of doing things, can make sense of numerous variables interacting simultaneously, and are much more comfortable with tasks of a higher complexity. They embrace change and can model the world in their heads, imagining what’s possible, seeing things that other people cannot see, and asking themselves the question, “why not?”. These high capability people are frustrated by the way organisations function. They understand the need, and are not afraid of learning new and better ways to lead.

The futurist Alvin Toffler said, ‘The illiterate of the future are not those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.’ Progressive leaders do not believe that learning was left behind in the classroom, they still love to learn. They intuitively understand leadership is a social process and actually like, respect and are fascinated by people. They accept their role as a leader is everchanging rather than fixed, and understand that their role is to support, enable and build capability in others. They strive to build better organisations; helping to create the conditions where people willingly work together and give their best, and engage the creativity embodied in everyone.

What are the qualities of a progressive leader?

Strives to build a better organisation

Is frustrated by the way organisations function

Intuitively understands leadership is a social process

Understands and wants to undertake leadership work

Actually likes, respects and is fascinated by people

Accepting their role as ambiguous rather than concrete

Is able to make order out of the complexity of their role

Understands that their role is to support, enable and build capability in others

Recognises to make technology projects successful, work, leadership and culture must also be improved

Is frustrated by the inability of traditional change approaches for improving work, leadership and culture

Still loves to learn

Join the Progressive Leaders Forum

Launched in 2017, the Progressive Leaders Forum is a private and exclusive forum dedicated to providing progressive leaders with a platform to connect with peers to hear and discuss fresh thinking on how to improve work, leadership, and culture.

Signing up as a member of the forum is free. Your email won’t be bombarded with ‘stuff’, instead, periodically you will receive thought-provoking articles; get answers to tackling major challenges that have become resistant to other approaches; have opportunities to attend briefings to hear from thought-leaders and international experts; and receive exclusive invitations to attend the annual Progressive Leaders’ Summit.

If you are one of a growing number of leaders who want to build a better organisation for your customers and your colleagues, and be ahead of the game, in the most disruptive of times, we look forward to welcoming you.

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