Jacob Morgan, a well-known U.S. author, speaker as well as business consultant specializing in topics related to the future of work, innovation and organizational transformation, published a book titled “The Leader of the Future: 9 attitudes and skills for the leaders of the future decade.” The publication is a guide for business leaders who want to learn the key skills and qualities they need in the future to properly perform their roles in organizations. The answer to the question “How to be a leader?” opens with a list of identified qualities, within which “thinking like an explorer” should be considered particularly important. Today, we’ll focus on explaining the importance of this approach in the context of good leadership.

How to be a leader who thinks like an explorer? – table of contents:

  1. How to be a leader? Jacob Morgan’s research
  2. What does it mean to “think like an explorer”?
  3. Why is it important to think like an explorer?
  4. How to be a leader? A summary of Jacob Morgan’s thoughts

How to be a leader? Jacob Morgan’s research

Working on his publication, Jacob Morgan interviewed more than 140 leaders of companies and organizations in various industries around the world (including Unilever, Visa, Marriott, Google, Audi, Mastercard, Microsoft, Oracle) to get their views on the key characteristics of a good leader in the future. What’s more, in cooperation with LinkedIn, he organized a survey (in which nearly 14,000 users participated) to get an idea of the opinions of those on the other side of the barricade as well. Based on the results, Jacob Morgan created a list of “The Notable Nine” defining how to be a leader and pointing them out:

  • The 5 most important skills for future leaders:
    • trainer – motivating, inspiring and creating a compelling vision,
    • futurist – prepared for what may come and striving to change himself,
    • translator – a great communicator with the ability to actively listen and act,
    • technological teenager – up to date with changes in this area,
    • Yoda – distinguished by highly developed emotional intelligence,
  • Top 4 ways of thinking:
    • citizen of the world – appreciating the opportunities presented by the clash of different cultures, personalities and beliefs (diversity),
    • servant – characterized by humility rather than a belief that the leader has the most important role,
    • chef – balancing the use of technology with concern for employees (as in the ingredients in a dish),
    • explorer – open to new ideas and continuous learning.

What does it mean to “think like an explorer”?

How to be a leader who is also an explorer, and why does this discovery matter so much? AsJacob Morgan points out that the basics of such a mindset should include, quoting the words of Bradley Jacobs, CEO of XPO Logistics (a leading transportation provider): “Curiosity is like the fountain of youth when it comes to effective leadership.” Morgan notices in his book that to be a leader who fulfills his or her role in the right way, one must demonstrate:

  • curiosity – necessary to take a step forward in a situation where unconventional solutions are needed,
  • growth-mindset approach – that is, to adhere to the belief that we are lifelong learners, rather than accepting the current state of knowledge or skills as stagnant and impossible to improve (not to give up in a challenging situation),
  • the desire for continuous development – independently strive to increase their knowledge and improve their skills, which becomes much easier when, thanks to the Internet, such opportunities are at their fingertips,
  • open-mindedness – to consider different perspectives and try new solutions, which is something you should convey to your team members,
  • flexibility – that is, not to be tied to traditional ways of doing things and to be ready for the fact that the “itinerary or way of traveling” may change in the course.
How to be a leader who thinks like an explorer? management 22how to be a leader

Why is it important to think like an explorer?

Leaders of the future will need to be flexible and open to change to successfully manage organizations in an era of rapidly changing trends and market demands (as part of adapting to a new reality). The ability to experiment and take risks, the belief that it is still possible to evolve, or curiosity about what might happen – in other words, all the basic qualities that characterize traditional explorers – will be necessary to cope in such a modern business environment. What’s more, it will only be possible to be a leader who truly leads his team in the search for new opportunities and innovative solutions.

How to be a leader? A summary of Jacob Morgan’s thoughts

There is no denying that due to the dynamic development of technology, generational changes in the labor market or the stage of economic and social development in which we find ourselves at the moment, the role of a leader is changing. For this reason, it is difficult to point to a closed catalog of skills and qualities to enlist as an answer to the question “How to be a leader?”. Still, Jacob Morgan’s study can come in handy in this regard.

After all, thinking like an explorer is a great fit for modern reality, in which it is necessary to operate in conditions of high uncertainty and volatility, and to search for new ideas and solutions. It is therefore worthwhile for anyone in a management position to familiarize themselves with this study as soon as possible.

Now, you know how to be a leader. Read also: Leadership styles in business

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Author: Piotr Pawłowski

Product Owner with over 15 years of experience in broadly understood Internet marketing. Without the slightest problem he can manage a project and everything is in one place. Passionate about growth hacking, his areas of interest include project management, business development and content marketing. He is also an avid HR enthusiast.