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What Does Modern Leadership Really Mean?

Business.com / Employees / Last Modified: July 10, 2018
Image credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

As organizations embrace the millennial evolution, they're changing their management style. Here are four leadership styles that are emerging in our modern workforce.

There's no doubt that most of the conversations in the business world seem to center around the ever-changing needs, behaviors and characteristics of the current – and future – employee bases. For some time now, this has been a major focus for companies looking to better understand their potential hires and, in turn, how those people will impact their organizations.

But what about the leaders? It makes sense that if the employee base is evolving, then surely so must the leadership? Turns out, that is exactly what's happening.

As organizations embrace the millennial evolution that is taking place, they're seeking new leadership styles that 10 years ago wouldn't have been considered necessary, or even effective.

Here are four leadership styles that are emerging in our modern workforce.


These leaders don't just think "outside of the box," they also hire outside of it – and expect the same from their recruits. Innovative leaders have a focus on the big picture with an understanding that to achieve the next big thing, there is a significant need for risk-taking.

What does this look like? You'll likely find fewer protocols and processes happening under the leadership of an innovator and, instead, a push toward seeing what successes shake out from unorthodox approaches.


Exactly as it sounds, servant leaders ensure the overall happiness and success of their employees. Servant leaders invest both personally and professionally in their team members: getting to know them better, what their ultimate goals are and how they can help employees achieve those goals. This comes across through mentorship programs, company training sesssions and continuous education, often on behalf of the company.


Easily one of the most debated topics currently, the trend toward increasing empathy in leadership, let alone in today's culture, has two very opinionated sides. That said, for companies that do appreciate and strive for empathetic leadership, the ability to listen and understand employees ultimately improves the workplace culture for more productivity and, in turn, success.

Committed to diversity

Finally, it's the leaders who are persistently on the lookout for diversity that will create big leaps forward for organizations. Those with the ability to look beyond the normal outlets for new hires – and successfully recruit people from all walks of life – have an innate understanding that with diversity comes fresh perspectives. Typically at the forefront of social injustice and movement for change, these leaders aren't willing to stray from their belief that welcoming everyone – regardless of sex, religious beliefs, ethnicity or sexuality – only enhances the culture and growth of the company.

There are, of course, other traits that are becoming mainstays in the business world. Companies are embracing flexible workforces in their efforts toward offering a better work-life balance, and as always, the best leaders will always value healthy communication, leading by example, and employee empowerment.

It's exciting to see the changes coming from the most successful companies around the world. With more millennials continuing to enter the workforce, there will no doubt be more transformations in leadership practices coming our way.

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