In our evolving society the ‘new’ leadership is custodianship

Custodian ‘a person who has responsibility for taking care of or protecting something’.

We are at an interesting juncture in society and by default an interesting juncture in the workplace. A lot of the beliefs that we held dear in society and in the workplace are being fundamentally questioned and in many instances challenged.

  • Capitalism – good or bad? The jury is still out but up until relatively recently, this dogma would be little challenged.
  • Profit or planet? We as organisations are trying to deliver both, in a world that needs solutions fast to a sustainability crisis.
  • Technology or human? Most of the literature calls out a human-centered future enabled by technology, but again there are no definitive answers.

In this seemingly challenging and contradictory world, business leaders are still expected to lead. I think we need to challenge the very nature of what leadership is in this new world.

Custodianship – real care of the 3 P’s

The best and most succinct word I can think of is custodianship. Custodianship – the very word presupposes a greater emphasis on care and protection. But care and protection of what?

Not just shareholders anymore, but real care of the 3 P’s – Purpose, Planet, and People. It requires a broader world view with a greater emphasis on collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, empathy and deep level diversity.

I don’t fundamentally believe that the future of work will be more human but it will require leaders who can manage complex and ever-growing social systems.

I think it is more relevant and precise to talk about the business world and the world of work as requiring a more socio-centric approach which needs new lenses like anthropology, behavioral psychology, and the broader social sciences to truly tap into the new custodian opportunity.

So, in essence, the new leader is really the custodian of a social system. This is a new challenge, a challenge to all leaders who want to succeed in the age of globalisation and ultra-connectivity.

The Cpl Future of Work Institute is an initiative that explores, questions and helps design future work solutions with our clients, partners collaborators and candidates.

We conduct research, workshops, and engagements across 7 core areas: Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Technology, Employer Proposition, New Workforce Models, Creative Leadership, Government & Regulatory, Future Skills.

Please contact me if you are interested in a Future of Work internal event on the area of Creative Leadership for your team.