empty work office

For years, the future of work has been a dominant narrative informing how an organization moves toward its mission. According to the 2019 Deloitte Insights report, What is the future of work?, more than a third of the US workforce works project or contract-based work. Additionally, machines and automation are replacing humans in an increasing number of jobs. Future roles will merge artificial intelligence and human skills such as problem-solving, communication, and data interpretation.

A new talent management reality

These shifts in the talent landscape, coupled with the impacts of COVID-19, have transformed the role of today’s nonprofit leader. Deloitte claims this changing workforce demands organizations move from attracting, developing, and retaining employees to a new model for talent management that includes accessing, curating, and engaging employees in the following ways:

  • Access: Sourcing talent involves tapping a diverse pool of full-time, remote, and gig workers and finding the right skills needed at the right time.
  • Curate: Growing talent is less about pushing prescribed and compulsory development experiences at employees and more about providing diverse opportunities that employees can pull when and where they need them.
  • Engage: Building relationships with and motivating employees is messier than ever, with co-located teams and virtual work impacting the strategies used to drive productivity and collaboration.

A new leadership blueprint 

Ready or not, the future of work is here. Managers are adapting by learning new virtual leadership capabilities. And those organizations that thrive in this time are trading in cultures of transactional leadership for transformational ones.

Transactional leadership motivates employees with risks and rewards. Pulling from the antiquated command-and-control style, this conventional management approach tends to be inflexible, hierarchical, and autocratic. In contrast, transformational leadership is a more egalitarian approach that distributes power, democratizes decision-making, and promotes employee autonomy.

The qualities of transformational leadership

Brighter Strategies has observed the following qualities of organizations with transformational leadership.

  • Trust. The foundation of healthy interpersonal relationships and team cohesion, trust grows through mutual exchange. And it starts at the top. It is much easier for employees to trust their managers when they feel trusted. In an era of remote work when staff cannot see one another in-person, a culture of trust empowers a workforce to take personal responsibility for achieving organizational goals.
  • COVID-19 revealed that organizations are made up of people who are not only workers, but parents, children, and friends with unique physical, emotional, and mental needs. Today’s transformational leaders understand employees are complex humans, not simple “talent-bots.” They effectively support employees who are raising children while working remotely, teaching virtual school, and juggling various roles simultaneously. And even post-pandemic, leadership development will be about continuing to hold space for employees to balance work and life for optimal wellbeing.
  • Purpose. Beyond mission, vision, and values, a nonprofit’s purpose motivates its people by offering a clear connection between individual and organizational aspiration, according to people practice research firm, Redthread’s The Purpose-Driven Organization. The 2020 report explains: “Purpose is the unifying philosophical compass that drives ‘why we do this’ regardless of job or function.” Purpose-driven leaders are those who have a clear understanding of their organization’s “why” and inspire their employees to achieve that unifying principle.

Do you want to position your organization to lead with trust, authenticity, and purpose now and into the future? We can help you better understand your most valuable asset, your people, and ensure your leaders are working to their full potential. Contact us today to learn more.