Leadership roles to evolve as competing forces shape the future of work in India

Oct 12, 2017

  • Leaders will be expected to deliver non-linear growth by adopting an adaptive mind-set
  • Learning intelligence” will be the new leadership edge
  • The future of work in India will require all constituents, especially the CEO and HR, to reinvent themselves

New Delhi, 12 October 2017: “Disruptive envisioning” will be the most critical leadership capability in the future workplace of India, according to the latest report by PwC India. This entails the ability to envision a future with multiple possible outcomes, while also having the courage to challenge the status quo and the openness to experiment.

The report titled 'Reimagining leadership: Steering India’s workforce in 2030calls out six new or emerging leadership capabilities including disruptive envisioning, multi-dimensional sense-making, orientation towards institution building, managing multi-dimensional diversity, personal credibility and talent magnetism that are critical for leaders to successfully navigate the new workforce realities. At the same time, the three core capabilities of self-awareness, curiosity to learn and evolve, and building and nurturing networks will assume even greater significance in the future.

According to Chaitali Mukherjee, Partner, People and Organisation, PwC India:

“The forces and trends shaping India and the business world have created paradoxes within organisations, which leaders of the future will need to navigate. Traditional models of development are no longer sufficient to help leaders act fast and effectively in unpredictable circumstances; organisations will need to reimagine the talent development experience at the top of the pyramid in much the same ways as they do the customer experience.”

While emotional and cognitive intelligence have proved to be critical to leadership success in the past, in the future workplace, “learning intelligence” will be the new leadership edge. The learning intelligence quotient will need to be understood, measured and also incentivised within organisations.

Interestingly, about 66% of those surveyed in this report believe that the onus for building capabilities for the future lies with an individual, while 61% of respondents believe that critical exposure to diverse environments, including working with client, partner and grass-root level organisations, will help leaders develop new perspectives and become accustomed to navigating the unknown and unpredictable.

Blair Sheppard, Global Leader - Strategy and Leadership Development, PwC said: “The most difficult thing for the leader is going to be keeping an eye on the long term perspective versus the short term pressures. It is the responsibility of the leader to look into the future when making decisions today, to ensure they are solving the immediate problems, while also preparing their organisation for the future.”

The report also includes a ‘3E’ model for leadership development - enrichment, enhancement and enablement. This framework provides a safe environment for leaders to fail fast, look beyond the rule book and engage in active experimentation. It not only means a very different approach towards how leaders are nurtured within an organisation, but also necessitates that the belief and commitment to this process be reflected in the culture of the organisation.

Finally, the report emphasises that the future workplace in India is likely to be characterised by competing and conflicting priorities and demands of its key constituents-the organisation, the employee, the CEO and HR. While organisations will continue to demand innovation-led growth from its CEOs, the CEO will have to focus on differentiating human capabilities and striking the right balance between humans and machines/bots. On the other hand, HR will become the guardian of the brand, focusing on creating the right culture and protecting the organisation against sustainability and reputational risks.

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