Depositphotos 14531803 mWe hear that the future is going to be disruptive, more complex and more volatile.

How can managers and leaders respond to the challenges of a more complex world?

We won't deal with this era of rapid change by gathering superhuman powers – and yet somehow, that's exactly what seems necessary.

Will it take superhuman efforts to lead your organisation into the future?

  1. Teams are becoming increasingly diverse. Managers are increasingly likely to lead a diverse team, composed of part-time and flexible workers, contractors and remote staff. Flexible work is on the rise; around half of all Australians now use the internet to work away from the office, while independent contractors form a larger part of the workforce, enabled by technology.
  2. The pace of change is accelerating. The adoption of technology is speeding up. In the past 50 years the pace of innovation and technology have accelerated. If those trends continue we can expect faster and more profound social and cultural change in the future.
  3. Flexibility is becoming imperative. Previously seen as a way to keep employees happy, it is now a vital and strategic business tool in organisations such as Mirvac [PDF Document] and Telstra. Businesses seeking to win the war for talent or increase productivity [PDF download] will increasingly need to follow that lead and look to flexibility as a solution.

Unsurprisingly, Australian managers feel unprepared to handle the challenges of the future. In particular, they are concerned about people leadership.

But leadership is the most significant solution to the problems we face.


Leaders need to bring teams together around a common vision and purpose. In an era of diversity and flexibility, where team members work across locations, timeframes and even time zones, teams that have a vague vision or a lack of purpose will suffer badly. Every manager knows that confusion and a lack of direction lead to poor outcomes.

Leaders need to define clear roles and responsibilities for each team member. The research around virtual teams shows that confusion can set in more quickly and be more destructive to the team's overall performance.

Working remotely and working flexibly require managers to be clear about roles and responsibilities.


Leaders need to establish a climate of positive teamwork. As technology plays an increasingly large role in the way we work, teams risk losing camaraderie and a sense of belonging. A great leader acts proactively to facilitate a positive work climate.

Major changes to the way we work are at our doorstep. Fortunately, managers don't need to be superheroes. Managers do, however, need to morph into leaders to manage the rapidly-changing nature of the way we work.

My next article will address the second key strategy required to lead and manage for a successful future: results-based management.


About Nina Sochon
Nina Sochon is a High Performing Workplaces Consultant and leading expert on remote and flexible work in Australia. Nina assists businesses to transform their teams into high performers through a clear system of results management, effective leadership and highly productive remote and virtual work arrangements.