09 Mar 2021

Leaders of the future: avoiding the leadership trap

The world as we know it is changing. This is not new. Human beings have been able to survive because of our ability to be resilient, flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. The need to evolve is more pertinent in today’s world, where total control at all times is a myth. It is challenging for leaders to plan for the foreseeable future but planning for the unforeseen can be daunting - and sometimes impossible.

Leadership in the housing sector has to evolve when faced with known and unknown disruptions, a notable one being the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on all aspects of living and working. Leadership as we know it needs to change. Of course, professional skills, knowledge and behaviours will continue to matter, along with the social purpose of our work and valuable sectorial experience; they’ll just not be enough. More will be required – by our residents, customers, stakeholders and the people we lead. We need to understand and collaborate more with the people and communities we serve. We also need a leadership base and workforce that is reflective of those communities. Our purpose is to begin with people in mind, so leadership of work needs to give way to leadership of people, with people and for people. Indeed, the leaders of the future will be those who can connect with humanity.

To lead is an action. Leaders must take a stand on all matters of inclusion; being silent, complacent, having good intentions without positive and measurable outcomes won’t do. The bottom line of the various activities on equality, diversity and inclusion should be equality that can be seen and felt.  

The key to business continuity is people continuity. Even in the face of growing technology, people still matter - and they always will. Now more than ever the need to attract and invest in future leaders is paramount. Yet the trap for leadership is to seek to replicate itself, based on the narrow perspective that ‘good leaders are only like me,’ when in fact, diversity in all realms is the key. To avoid the leadership trap, the culture change we need in the housing sector must start from the mindset of the leaders.

Written by Olukemi Jeboda

Olukemi Jeboda, Lead HR Business Partner, The Hyde Group. Olukemi is a seasoned HR professional, Non-Executive Director, Committee member, Accredited Coach and Mentor.