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The Skills of 2020 and Changing Leadership

The societies we live in today are vastly different from what they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. The pace of the world is increasing exponentially, due to technology and its effects on the daily life of human beings. The most prevalent of these effects is no doubt the capacity for global connection.

TIME Magazine recently published an article with an infographic detailing the projected ten most important work skills required for the workplace in the year 2020 — which alarmingly, is only a little over five years away. Five years might feel a long way away for now, but in today’s fast-paced society, time flies.

2020 skills

Success lies in preparation, and so we must ask ourselves, what does this mean for today’s skills training and how we can keep up for 2020?

What may set the individual or leader apart is the ability to adapt and innovate, a keenness for learning, and zero tolerance for complacency.

There are a number of things expected to change by 2020, including increased longevity (longer life spans), the heightened role that technology and computation will play in our personal and professional lives, and intensified globalization. Simply put, the world is finding ways to do things better and to get more out of it. If we are optimistic, we can expect to live in an “improved” society by 2020.

For leaders, however, it is important to realize that this improvement begins right now at this moment, not five years later. When the skills of 2020 demands people to own a wider sense of social intelligence, computational thinking, cross cultural competency. In addition, it requires leaders to be capable of new media literacy, virtual collaboration, and transdisciplinary work — the learning curve begins now.

Those we deem worthy of leadership are those who are “one step ahead”, and who are “leading the way”. They are the ones who are willing to take risks and able to adapt to change, and in doing so, become role models for those who wish to follow.

Leaders in today’s world must have a solid knowledge of both the past and a future, and secure understanding of where they themselves fit in between or bridge the gap. The world is expanding, and people need to grow along with it — as the world becomes better, so must we.

Here at AIESEC, we also wanted to identify some of the top skills young people were wanting to develop today, and our YouthSpeak survey with 25,000 millennial respondents showed that leadership / team management, new languages, critical thinking and problem solving skills were still the most in-demand to help them get ahead over the next few years.

The skills you need today versus in the future are rapidly changing. Are you prepared for the skills of 2020?

Tweet us @AIESEC or comment below

What does leadership mean to different leaders?

The definition of leadership can vary, and it can be interpreted in different ways based on a person’s experience. We previously defined the difference between transformational vs transactional leadership and developed a Facebook application with IE Business School to identify your leadership style.

Here’s what leadership means to different leaders

AIESEC International 

  • Leadership is about positively impacting others through living by example and enabling a continuous rippling effect – Ana Sofia Espejo
  • To me leadership reflects in everyday actions and behaviours. Being a leader is not a one-time thing, it’s a life-long commitment – Karolina Piotrowska
  • Leadership is service, empathy and clarity of vision – Giancarlo Ostuni
  • Leadership is the ability to not just have a vision, but to act on it and engage others around you to act on it. Successfully.  – Kevin Cornwell
  • Leadership means to me consciously changing and challenging yourself for a purpose you believe – Vishant Kothari
  • To me leadership means to inspire action, inspire by example, inspire by your stories – Lucia Taboda
  • Leadership is empowering others to become something greater than themselves  – Gordon Ching
Historical figures
  • To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker
  • He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle
  • To lead people, walk behind them – Lao Tzu
  • Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy

Modern leaders

  • As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
  • A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men. —Stephen King
  • Earn your leadership every day –Michael Jordan
  • Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
  • My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better  —Steve Jobs

What is your definition of leadership? Tell us on Twitter @AIESEC.

Discover your leadership style with the transactional vs transformational leadership quiz.

Transformational Leadership vs Transactional Leadership

Transformational or transactional leadership? Is one better than the other?

The concept of transformational leadership was initially introduced by leadership expert and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns. According to Burns, transformational leadership can be seen when “leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation.”

Transactional and transformational are the two modes of leadership that tend to be compared the most.

James MacGregor Burns distinguished between transactional leaders and transformational by explaining that:

  • Transactional leader are leaders who exchange tangible rewards for the work and loyalty of followers.
  • Transformational leaders are leaders who engage with followers, focus on higher order intrinsic needs, and raise consciousness about the significance of specific outcomes and new ways in which those outcomes might be achieved.

Here’s a great breakdown chart of transactional vs transformational leadership.

Transactional VS. Transformational
Leadership is responsive Leadership is proactive
Works within the organizational culture Works to change the organizational culture by implementing new ideas
Employees achieve objectives through rewards and punishments set by leader Employees achieve objectives through higher ideals and moral values
Motivates followers by appealing to their own self-interest 
Motivates followers by encouraging them to put group interests first
Management-by-exception: maintain the status quo; stress correct actions to improve performance.
Individualized consideration: Each behaviour is directed to each individual to express consideration and support.
Intellectual stimulation: Promote creative and innovative ideas to solve problems.

However, there has been recent arguments that transformationa lleadership may be more effective in a long-term setting.

“Research evidence clearly shows that groups led by transformational leaders have higher levels of performance and satisfaction than groups led by other types of leaders,” explained psychologist and leadership expert Ronald E. Riggio. The reason, he suggests, is that transformational leaders believe that their followers can do their best, leading members of the group to feel inspired and empowered.

Where transactional leadership works

Rules, procedures and standards are essential in transactional leadership. Followers are not encouraged to be creative or to find new solutions to problems. Research has found that transactional leadership tends to be most effective in situations where problems are simple and clearly-defined.

While transactional leadership can be effective in some situations, it is generally considered an insufficient and may prevent both leaders and followers from achieving their full potential.

How transformational leadership works:

In their classic text, Transformational Leadership , authors Bass and Riggio explained:

“Transformational leaders…are those who stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity. Transformational leaders help followers grow and develop into leaders by responding to individual followers’ needs by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of the individual followers, the leader, the group, and the larger organization.”

We’ve worked together with Juan-Carlos Pastor, PhD, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at IE Business School, to develop an app on Facebook that helps you determine whether you have a more transactional or transformational leadership style.

Curious which leadership style you are? Click here and find out!

 

 

Turn to the Leader in the Mirror

“This moment in history demands that we stop waiting on others to solve the problems and right the wrongs of our times.”

At 66th AIESEC International Congress 2014 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Arianna Huffington addressed more than 700 young leaders from 124 countries and territories.

In her message to young people, she addressed the concept of “leading the change,” focused on empowering young people to create the change they wish to see in the world. Connected with the leadership development that AIESEC provides to young people, Arianna Huffington advises youth to tap into their creativity, leadership and wisdom – “Because wherever we look around the world, we see smart leaders in politics, in business, in media, making terrible decisions. What they are lacking is not IQ, but wisdom.”

Some of the most important issues today including diversity, climate change, education and the impact of technology require not just talk, but action. Arianna says:

“…don’t wait for leaders on a white horse to save us. Instead, turn to the leader in the mirror. Tap into your own leadership potential, because the world desperately needs you. And that means daring to take risks and to fail, as many times as it takes along the way to success and more important, to remaking the world and leading the change.”

How can we ensure that we are leading the change?

How One Person Can Change Your Life – Everyday Leadership

 

Written by Ivana Gusic, Head of Public Relations and Marketing at AIESEC in Austria

Did it ever happen to you that one person changed your life?
Did you ever have a wow day without expecting it at all?

I want to tell you a story, which took place almost half a year ago. In March 2014, on the Serbian National Conference, president of AIESEC in Serbia at the time — Aleksa Nikolic held a speech. It was his last speech as the president, since he was leaving very soon to a new position in AIESEC International. For those who don’t know, AIESEC changes its leadership body completely every year to provide opportunity for life-changing experiences to more people.

Anyway, Aleksa grew during the year he was a president, developed a lot personally and professionally and changed the organization. That day, he shared stories with us, laughed, appreciated his team and played one video. I don’t remember exactly the story that led to him playing the video. Our memory is tricky and we remember flashes, feelings and images.

But he played this video.

Have you seen it? If not, take a minute now to see it and then continue reading; you won’t regret it.

Maybe the message of the poem is not something you haven’t heard before or maybe it is. Maybe you heard a completely different message than I did that day. That’s the beauty of poems. Each person finds something in it for himself or herself.

Carpe diem. Live as if you’ll die today. Live every single day to the fullest because time flies. Live for something. Live in peace.

Maybe you see messages as the same or carrying similar meaning. Maybe they’ve lost meaning to you because you’ve heard them so many times.

But sometimes by changing the package, you get to see the same thing in a completely different light. This is what happened to me that day.

“Let now be our advent
Let us live like we meant it
Let us burn like we mean it
Because this world doesn’t give a shit if we end in a train wreck or a car crash
If our story ends with a dot or dash
If we were dust or ash
Because all we were is all we’ll be
And all we are is the in-between of so far, so good
So forget every would, could, or should not
Forget remembering how we forgot
Live like a plot twist exist now and in memory
Because we burn bright Our lights leave SCARS on the sun
Let no one say we will be undone by times passing
The memories we are amassing will stand as testament
That somehow we bent minds behind the concept
That we see others within ourselves
That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves
So who we are has no bearing on how we appear
Look directly in every mirror
Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story.
And our story starts; we were here”

We always consider leadership and changing the world as a massive undertaking. But sometimes it’s about changing one life.

That day, with a simple message, Aleksa changed mine. But there were more than 200 people in that room. Maybe he changed a couple more without even realising.

That is everyday leadership.

Sometimes small changes produce big echoes.

So think of things that inspire you and think about giving back and sharing with others selflessly. Because we live in such a world today where it’s easy to become self-centered and easy to forget whom else we are in this world with.

And you never know whom you can inspire by accident. So lets teach each other and inspire each other. Because leadership is about people. And this world is about people.

How many lives you think you changed without even realising it?

Maybe that is how you contributed to building a more peaceful world.

AIESEC Everyday Leader Series — Everyday Leaders Changing the World. Submit Your Story!

World Peace may just be attainable.

AIESEC Everyday Leader Series — Everyday Leaders Changing the World.

AIESEC Everyday Leader series highlights powerful stories and lessons from thought and everyday leaders from around the world. The stories illustrate on how World Peace may just be attainable through the actions of everyday leaders who are working towards the peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential.

Read the first of the series

Examples of Everyday Leader Stories

How can you participate and contribute your inspiring story for Everyday Leadership?

1. Write an article on Medium.com

2. Include at least one high-quality photo and refine for grammar and spelling

3. Publish and submit your best stories to gordonc@ai.aiesec.org

4. Share it on social media and tag us @AIESEC

Guidelines

  • We will review your story, and contact you for re-publication on our global blog and global social media channels.
  • Stories will be pre-approved before publication, and are subject to editorial modifications to align with the central theme.
  • Not all stories will be accepted for global showcasing, but we encourage you to share your own story with those around you.

An average post on Global AIESEC Facebook for example can attract upwards of 100,000+ users organically. Follow us also on Twitter and LinkedIn

Must-do’s to be qualified

  • One or more clear high-quality impactful photo (we encourage videos too).
  • Clear illustrations about the experience and story free of grammar and spelling errors
  • Include the “date, where, when and how you did it”
  • Craft a compelling story line that showcases what challenges you overcame had to overcome and how you made a difference through the experience
  • Connected to how everyday leaders can change the world and its connection to AIESEC’s mission of peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential.
  • Has a blurb at the end of the article written: “This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, that showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.

How World Peace Begins With Everyday Leaders

AIESEC World Peace series highlights the stories and lessons from thought and everyday leaders from around the world on how World Peace may just be attainable. Contribute your story.

World Peace.

It has been humanity’s eternal, elusive dream. A dream that has inspired influential leaders like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Malala Yousafzai, to rise from being an ordinary citizen to becoming a leader to make a significant difference. There is also AIESEC’s very own alumnus Martti Ahtisaari, who was the 10th President of Finland and 2008 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his “for his efforts on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts.”

Ahtisaari states that AIESEC helped him “discover new passions about diversity and diplomacy.”

Leaders like Ahtisaari are not super heroes, but human beings just like you and I who have strived to achieve extraordinary accomplishments. They are everyday leaderswho care about the world and take action to defend human rights.

Ahtisaari AIESEC

The peaceful freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi was once faced at gunpoint, but she did not give in. Instead, she demonstrated absolute courage and clarity by walking without fear to the line of soldiers and with the guns pointed at her, and walked passed it. Nobody was killed.

What would you have done in this moment?

The Lady Gunpoint

In the movie The Lady, Michelle Yeoh portrays Aung San Suu Kyi’s extraordinary life, challenges, road to peace and democracy in Burma, and is a compelling movie that showcases the power of nonviolence. The strength of this iconic woman is outstanding, and is a role model to show that fear cannot conquer our common humanity.We all live our own lives and we often turn down activities by saying “I’m busy.”

Pushing for world peace does not mean we all need to be walking in front of guns, but to take action even in the smallest ways. It is as practical as dedicating even a few hours a month volunteering for a cause that improves the lives of others, and yourself.

Being an everyday leaders means you are actively seeking for ways to improve the well-being of others in your community. An everyday leader can be as simple as:

  • Showing more compassion and empathy to those around you
  • Joining your grandparents for dinner even though you’re busy with work
  • Calling your loved ones to remind them of how thankful you are for their support
  • Volunteering for a social cause because it will make a difference in other peoples lives
  • Leading a peaceful movement of people to actively advocate for positive change in your community

These everyday actions, make a significant difference because you are now actively participating in your community.

Three specific TED Talks that will alter your perspective on the road to peace

In the Road to Peace playlist on TED, “these speakers offer inspired ideas, practical advice and real-world examples from around the globe of how it just might be attainable.”

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1997 for her work toward the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines advocates for society to have a more realistic vision of world peace. The talk focuses on rethinking world peace to human security, and enabling people to live dignified lives.

Scilia Elworthy a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Oxford Research Group that seeks to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics, talks about how to deal with extreme violence without using force in return. Exploring the themes of how to overcome bullies ranging from countries to individuals without any violence in return

Julia Bacha a filmmaker who produced Budhrus discusses the power of attention, and how we often media and audiences pay attention to the violence, but not the non-violent leaders and peacemakers of the Middle East region that may very well bring peace to the region. Bacha advocates for us to pay attention to nonviolence.

AIESEC Youth Leaders

Progress will come, when all of humanity is awakened, moved to take action and not idly sit by to wait for change.

Young people around the world need to strive to become an everyday leaders and make positive change happen by taking actions that improve the lives of others.

How will you get involved in the global community and create positive change?

Submit and share your everyday leader story with us. Tweet us at @AIESEC or engage with me at @gdondon

 

 

Where Do All of the Good Women Go?

Every morning, I sit at my desk as Global VP of Public Relations for AIESEC International to do my daily news scan. I am instantly flooded with new articles about women not being represented enough in the top leadership positions; blog posts on how women need to take every opportunity they can at work; and reports on how to encourage female Millennials because we’re facing a leadership gap.

I then take a look around me.

In my office, there are women everywhere. Out of twenty-two full time staff on the global executive team of AIESEC, eleven of them are women – three of them are at the upper management level. Around 50 percent of our 100,000 members are women. As an organisation we are rich with “up and coming” young female leaders.

Even down at our national level where we have offices in 124 countries and territories, young women are consistently represented in the highest leadership positions. “I decided to run for President of AIESEC in India because I had something to offer and I had a vision for where I wanted the organisation to go” says Ramita Vg, Global VP Product Development for AIESEC International. “I never questioned myself because I would only be the second female President. I did it because I felt responsibility for the organisation.”

So if at a younger age our women are still striving for these upper leadership positions, where do all of the good women go?

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ignited an international conversation about women and ambition with the publication of her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Her argument that women need to overcome internal barriers in order to advance as leaders has provoked significant debate. Skeptics claim that Sandberg’s message simplifies a complex problem and ultimately blames women for not making it to the top; supporters believe she is inspiring women to aim higher in their careers and offering practical advice to help them succeed.

From looking at the way our young women advance in AIESEC, we can pinpoint to four possible reasons why they do not make it to the upper leadership roles:

1. They are satisfied enough not to apply for these positions.

It is not always a natural next step to apply for a higher position within an organisation or to seek out more responsibility in a higher labeled role. Regardless of being a male or female, if someone is feeling happy, challenged and fulfilled in a particular position, they may not have the urge to apply to a higher position. It may be that they are already happy in their current role and in the impact they are creating. Generally, when people are happy they do what they can to keep that feeling.

2. They choose to have other priorities.

Not every woman will decide to put her career first. This comes down to what the individual defines as success; as their end goal for their lives. Some will choose their education level; others will decide that attaining a certain position will determine their success. For some the salary they make and the materials they own determine their success. Some women will decide that having a family and children is their idea of success. Each woman will have their own definition of success, and this does not always coincide with taking leadership roles within an organisation. There are certain tasks and behaviors that upper level management roles will demand that are unable to be balanced with other priorities. Maybe what needs to change is the way we view leadership roles and what is needed to fulfill them? If you were to ask someone what a typical day looks like for a C-level executive, they will most likely describe it with long hours, back to back meetings and an overall demanding lifestyle. Maybe the typical life of an executive needs to be redefined so that the opportunity can be taken by more individuals than just those who strictly prioritise work.

3. They are not in the right environment.

A woman may be skilled enough to take on a leadership role, but if the environment around her does not encourage and support her to do so, it could never happen. This is down to the system and people that make up the work environment she is in. If the system is not open, progressive and does not embrace diversity it is very hard for a woman to push her way through it. If the people around her are not encouraging, and are not showing and supporting her through the path of advancement, she may never know the opportunity is open for her. Creating an environment that supports any skilled person, no matter their gender, to take on a higher position is the responsibility of the company or organisation.

4. They hold themselves back.

Do women question their abilities to take on larger roles and responsibilities? Does the male-dominated boardroom intimidate them? We can think of many questions when we look at the substantial drop in female leaders as we move up the corporate ladder. Is there a change in their ambition as they get older or are there other factors stopping them? In her books Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, states that women often do not aspire to more in their careers and in their leadership journeys. Maybe it is because they don’t think about it, or they don’t believe that they could actually succeed in reaching the goals they set for themselves; as women tend to not believe enough in their capabilities. After determining that they want to be a leader, women need to lean in and take every opportunity regardless of their fear of failure.

PwC is one global company that identifies with the Lean In movement and is committed to supporting an environment that will help women to achieve their full potential. The firm believes that it will take a collaborative effort of companies, leaders and from women themselves to start to close this leadership gap. According to U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz, “Leaders profoundly influence the aspirations of the people who work with them, which is why ambition requires mutual accountability. Companies have a responsibility to provide opportunities and support women as they explore career possibilities and life choices. That’s why PwC is leaning in.”

On 24 April from 4:30pm GMT, PwC will be hosting its first-ever global forum on women and leadership. The event is part of “Aspire to Lead: The PwC Women’s Leadership Series,” which includes a number of programs and workshops designed for college students who are looking to build their leadership skills.

Sheryl Sandberg will share her perspective, and answer questions on the challenges women face when transitioning from campus to career in a special live webcast. The event will be broadcast live from Facebook’s campus in California.  A replay will be available shortly after the live broadcast and translated versions of the webcast will be available the week of 5 May.

We encourage you to participate in this discussion by tuning into the live webcast or watching the replay at www.pwc.com/aspire. In addition, this webcast is open to anyone, so please share this unique opportunity with those in your personal, school and professional networks.

Maybe if we can get young women to start planning their career goals now, we have a better chance of helping them get there – and hopefully gain more good leadership that the world desperately needs.

The topic of women in leadership sparked a conversation throughout our office that we want to continue – stay tuned for more content coming in the next few weeks!

Are you challenging yourself enough?

Hugo Pereira, President of AIESEC in 2010-2011, recently held a TED talk at TEDxAUBG in Bulgaria about the questions that move us forward. He looked back at his 8 year experience in AIESEC as well as his volunteer internship in a non-profit in India to really figure out what it was that motivated him and helped him to grow as a person; he found it was human connection.

“Looking back I found that you find the right questions when you are surrounded by the right people…Do you know who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Are they challenging you enough? Are they helping you find the right questions? Who are the right people for you?”

Watch his full TED talk here:

Do you feel yourself challenged by the people you spend your time with? How can you surround yourself with new people and different perspectives so that you are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?

To explore and develop your leadership potential by embarking on a global internship experience, visit www.opportunities.aiesec.org to get started.

Solving Youth Unemployment in Europe

“There are 26.2 million people unemployed in the EU today – an increase of more than 9 million people from 2008. This trend has significant economic, political and social consequences for Europe. The challenge for European leaders is to solve this puzzle and to help citizens find sustainable and long-term employment opportunities.”

(www.iiea.com – The Institute of International and European Affairs)

Sustainable and long-term employment opportunities do not include just generating new job posts, but also educating and preparing youth to be ready for responsibilities these job posts bring. Nowadays Millennials complain about the lack of open job posts, while businesses argue that Gen Y lack the needed skill sets.

Who is right and who is wrong?

Rather than taking one side, let us consider the fact that there is a gap in expectation setting from both sides: what young people want from their employers vs. companies’ expectations from their employees and the type of employee they would be more likely to hire. Imagine what would happen if we aligned supply and demand – the kind of the jobs young people are looking for and developing the set of characteristics young people need to perform in their dream jobs.

What is also often disputed when talking about youth unemployment is the mindset young people born as Gen Y share – they are ambitious but not humble; they expect excellent conditions from the get go; they are not prepared to start from scratch and work up the ranks, rather demanding everything right now. How can we make sure young people understand what is needed in order to land their dream job? How can we shift the current mindset?

As often happens, challenges arise from more than one source; it is the combination of everything mentioned above. On one hand, the education young people are acquiring is leaving them unprepared to deal with today’s job market reality. They lack practical knowledge, skills and strategic thinking, which are usually not acquired through formal education. And on the other hand, employers seek young people who are ready to dedicate themselves to work, learn and advance but who nevertheless have some previous experience or at least certain set of characteristics and skills. Do we as young people know what these characteristics are? And are we developing them?

On April 7th in Warsaw, Poland, Europe Youth to Business Forum will gather all stakeholders important in solving the issue of youth unemployment – young people, educators, government and business. They will have the opportunity to discuss and generate ideas on how collaboration can lead to solving this challenge in the region.

Join us on livestream (bit.ly/EuropeY2BF) and contribute to flipping the switch on youth unemployment in Europe!