Leadership transparency, Workforce shortages in 2030, The invisible leader, Offices for the future of work

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Hello again and welcome to another big week of Management Disrupted, my weekly newsletter on better management for the future of knowledge work.

This week, I focus on a really interesting and fast moving trend to leadership transparency (especially at a CEO level). From a number of perspectives it looks like the days of the ego driven, dictatorial CEO are numbered.

If you’re in Melbourne, I’m talking about key trends in the future of knowledge work at the HRTC function on the 15th of July. You can get tickets here.

Hope it’s a great (and very transparent!) week for you.


The trend to leadership transparency

Transparent office

There’s a big trend to leadership transparency that’s really clear in a couple of the articles that I’m calling out this week.

As this first article from HBR blogs talks about, there’s a confluence of generational and technology trends at work that mean ego is very much on the way out.

More transparency means leadership is about to get more uncomfortable
“Employees used to know just your name, your face, your business reputation. Now they know your salary, your hometown, your connections on LinkedIn, how much your house is worth… leadership in the future will involve increased personal and business-level discomfort. Leaders will have to cope with the blurring of private and public life. Ego is on its way out.”

More on the “end-of-ego” in this article from The Financial Post. A great piece of writing comparing the best CEOs of today to those 10 years ago (Steve Ballmer vs Satya Nadella at Microsoft is a good illustration)

Is it the end of the imperial CEO?
“The so-called chief ego officers and their high-handed leadership style, so prevalent during the past 20 years, now look out of place and out of touch in the age of aggressive shareholder activism and social media.”

David Zweig has written a book about the power of modesty in management. This is a great summary of what he learnt about the “invisibles” who make most organisations tick.

In Praise of the Invisible Leader
“There is an important and influential group of people who manage to avoid the clatter. Quietly, modestly, they do their work diligently, and without a desperate need for personal recognition. They can be found in almost any profession and at every organizational level.”

Touching on transparency from another perspective, Jamie Dimon’s revelation he has throat cancer prompted some interesting thinking about when companies need to reveal executive illness. The expectation of sooner, better disclosure is a good illustration of the broader macro trend to transparency at the top.

Dimon’s Cancer and the Fine Line in Revealing Illness of a C.E.O.
“Serious illness strikes boardrooms more often than you might think….Handling the news is particularly difficult when it involves a leader who has become the face of the company. That was the case with Mr. Jobs and, to a lesser degree, is also the case with Mr. Dimon, perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent banker”

Other interesting articles this week in better management for knowledge work:

Photo Credit: MaarsLivingWalls used under CC SA 3.0 licence

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