All Rise Series: Leadership Is Changing

Leadership is changing, are you ready?

By: Leah Kinthaert


To say the concept of leadership is changing is an understatement. Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and 91% of them say they aspire to be leaders (one study even says 78% of them say they already are ‘leaders’). It’s clear, however, that this version of leadership won’t necessarily mean a CEO title or a corner office with an administrative assistant. Studies across the board are showing that this new generation prefers a non-hierarchical leadership style with collaboration and empowerment for all. So, you might ask, what does leadership mean in this new universe? To get an idea, we interviewed several executives, emerging leaders, and leadership thought leaders ranging in gender, ethnicity, country, age, industry and experience to ask them: “What is your definition of leadership?”

Bärí A. Williams, Vice President, Legal, Policy & Business Affairs All Turtles:  “Leadership is motivating others through empowering them with a larger vision, and connecting their work to that vision.”

Rayona Sharpnack, Founder & President, Institute for Gender Partnership: “Leadership is determined by followership.  People follow leaders who demonstrate stewardship on behalf of a compelling future that the followers care about”

Falk Bothe, Director Digital Transformation Office, Volkswagen AG: “A true leader has a purpose and can create a strong vision around this purpose which ignites followers to work for this purpose.”

Cindy Gallop, Founder, Cindy Gallop LLC: “A leader is someone who always puts their people ahead of themselves.”

Leigha Mitchell, Developer, flashfood: “Leadership means being humble, helpful, and when required, a hard ass.”

Greg Satell, Speaker & Innovation Advisor, Author Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Mapping a Disruptive Age: “A great leader doesn’t coerce people to do what he or she wants, but inspires them to want what he or she wants.”