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The four types of leaders that are needed to run the world

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The world of work is changing. While societies and companies are evolving in line with the greater adoption of technology — dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution— workforces and their leaders need to adapt too.

According to Deloitte’s second annual Readiness Report, Success Personified in the Fourth Industrial Revolution , the major global consultancy identified what characteristics and people that are likely to set apart the most effective leaders and successful organisations.

Deloitte’s survey gathered information from 2,042 C-suite executives, including CEOs, presidents, chief financial, investment, technology, and marketing officers, across 19 countries. All the executives surveyed represented companies with a revenue of $1bn (£776m) or more, with 50.1% coming from organisations with more than $5bn in revenue.

Deloitte found that executives have a “clearer grasp of the skills challenge ahead” but “organisational roadblocks appear to be limiting the development” of effective industry strategies that would allow their companies to thrive in the new age of technology. It found that leaders need to embody the following four traits in order to make sure their businesses keep up and grow:

  • “Social Supers” — Commitment to do good
  • “Data-driven Decisives” — Defined, data-driven decision-making
  • “Disruption Drivers” — Bold, longer-term vision of technology
  • “Talent Champions” — Aggressive about workforce development

“Last year, even though leaders were just beginning to understand how [the Fourth Industrial Revolution] would transform business and society, they expressed confidence in their preparedness,” said Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO.

“Yet their actions demonstrated a significant mismatch between their confidence to address these changes and their actual readiness to address them. Today, leaders are more realistic about what it will take to succeed, and they appear particularly focused on societal impact and workforce development as two critical components of their future success,” he added.

Social Supers are considered leaders who actively consider, drive and demonstrate success “doing well by doing good.” It’s not often that this ethos is considered prevalent in big business but generating new revenue streams through socially or environmentally conscious products or services can lead to greater profitability.

Data-Driven Decisives are seen as key leaders that can overcome organisational silos, can complicated decision-making processes that hamper innovation. They have “a methodical, data-focused approach and are bolder in their decisions.”

Disruption Drivers are those who are able to find new opportunities and understand where investment needs to be implemented in order to grow. This is often investing in emerging technologies and making “bold decisions” with big pay offs.

“Talent Champions” are also key to keeping companies successful as they will know what skill sets their organisations. This will mean that these executives are already “aggressively preparing their companies for digital transformation, and embrace their responsibilities to train their employees for the future of work.”