We, as human beings, naturally adore categories. We get enthralled by the personality tests which tells us where we fit in and the quizzes which tell us which kind of bread we are. But when it comes to leadership, where do you fit in? Academia follows up this question with multiple theories of leadership focusing on where you come from, who you are born to and what skills you can develop throughout your life. But being AIESECERs, at this prime of our young adulthood we know theory ain’t always the best practice. Yet, this doesn’t mean leadership theories are to be tossed into a wastepaper basket right away. However, the 21st century demands leadership that is transformative and updated. Looking at the latest trends related to leadership could help combine theory to practice, with higher applicability. 

Pace of change in the workplace

Recent trends in leadership come from adding EQ to the mix of IQ– Emotion combines with intelligence as we become woke in terms of human effort and error. Workplace responsibilities are growing and are taxing individuals within the high competitive corporate arena. On top of it, personal responsibilities remain unchanged. In the light of struggle and strife, leaders are expected to be sensitive to the factors contributing to affect the productivity of their teams. This quality of emotional concern generally falls under being more ethical, moral and having a transparent work culture where the team is not overloaded with exceeding responsibilities and tight deadlines. 

This also addresses the modern concept of pace of change in the workplace. This calls for innovative and agile leadership who can switch things up for their team to be efficient and happy at what they do. They must follow trends in organizations and have to be updated in terms of methods and strategies of work. Change of pace, however, refers to a more direct change of scene and environment. Adding a picnic with the AIESEC entities or themed meetings along with casual trips with the team may come under this. Encouraging the bonds between the team and the leadership, these activities could in turn aid the transformational process within the organization. 

latest trends in leadership

Now more than ever, we are engulfed by technology. Even as AIESECers, technology plays an integral role in connecting entities, volunteers, interns, leaders and youth all around the world. Naturally, technology is also one of the biggest trends impacting leadership. Technology, along with artificial intelligence is moving at a breakneck speed and it is a literal ‘if you snooze, you lose’ scenario we are facing. Particularly, the adaptability to technology that made it possible for most companies to switch to remote work during the pandemic. AIESEC is not a stranger to remote work or technology, but how well does technology affect leadership? Virtual leadership is challenging, evolving and uncertain. The world becomes smaller with every technological advancement bringing the AIESEC community together; leadership thus also becomes global. Future leaders learn to embrace globalization, appreciating different cultures and communicating across cultural and language barriers. 

All in all, the crux of these latest trends is how versatile the world of work is. It changes daily and to lead the rapidly changing world, our AIESECers must be familiar with change. The ideal world always expects you to have theory to back up your practice. This is apparent in terms of pre-requisites when applying to universities, the job descriptions we come across when applying for first internships to first jobs. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other; and they can act as armor as you step in and out of AIESEC as young leaders. The cost of delay or non-adaptability may turn out to be irreplaceable. Therefore, it’s always best to have trends under your sleeves to serve as confetti to your already skilled leadership.

Thisandi Weerasinghe

AIESEC in University of Peradeniya

Leadership trends for the next manager generation

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