The Empowered Blog

2015 Leadership Predictions:

 7 Big Changes Every Leader Wants to Know About

leadership trends

  • Do you know how current trends will change the face of leadership in your company?
  • Is your company ready to meet the new leadership challenges in the coming years?
  • Are you aware of how leadership is evolving to respond to those trends?

Every leader knows the importance of being strategic.  Being strategic means looking into the future and identifying trends, opportunities and threats.

Below are my 2015 leadership predictions – threats, trends and opportunities – that will change the world of leadership as we know it today.

1.    Complexity is the new normal.

The intensity of change is increasing at an alarming rate. Such changes will pressure leaders to lead agile organizations, while attempting to do more with less in an already over-taxed work environment.

To succeed in this new normal, leaders must become master delegators, change agents and futurists.  They must oversee strategic planning as a dynamic process, not an annual event.  They must become laser-focused on the critical few while filtering out the less important many.

2.   A rising shortage of good leaders and leadership capabilities spells disaster for future growth.

With the continued exit of baby boomers, millennials have become the largest segment of the workforce for the first time.  As a result, millennials are being pushed into leadership roles before they are ready.

Also, many qualified managers are choosing entrepreneurship, rather than continuing to climb the corporate ladder. This trend will exacerbate the shortage of capable leaders.

To deal with this shortage, companies must invest in growing their own leadership talent.  They must develop a continuous pipeline of potential leaders and groom early before undertaking those roles.

3.    The 3 most critical leadership skills to navigate the future will be:

  • Advanced “people skills”

Of all the skills a leader develops, the capacity to lead and influence people is ranking higher every year amongst CEOs.  The most important of these leadership skills needed for the future will be:

-   Building a culture of self responsibility and accountability

-   Coaching and developing new leaders

-   Hiring “best fit” talent – in terms of motivations, values and competencies – to drive a high performance culture

  • Problem predicting (over problem solving)

Most strategic plans are not really strategic.  Many leaders create annual plans that extrapolate from the past and focus on eliminating current problems (aka “problem solving”).  If such a plan is successful, all that has been achieved is an absence of problems.

On the other hand, a true strategic plan focuses on what you want your company to become in the future, the results you want to create and the unexpected problems you anticipate along the way.  The focus is on problem predicting and the actions necessary to prevent the problems.

  • Change leadership (over change management)

Change will only accelerate in the future.  To thrive in such an environment, leaders must know how to initiate and respond to strategic change.

While change management still is important, its main focus is on following plans, creating responsibilities and measuring results. Change management is about things.

Change leadership, however, focuses on leading change – ie., making things happen that would not normally happen.  It’s about inspiring employees to participate and “own” their contribution in future company direction.  Change leadership is about people.

4.      Higher cognitive impairment, burnout and stress amongst leaders is escalating due to information overload.

The rise of mobile communications, social media and web 3.0 have their dark impact on leadership performance, despite the benefits.

  • Leaders’ brains are being hijacked due to an addiction to information.

The constant bombardment of information provides leaders with a feeling of new and exciting — triggering the neurotransmitter dopamine and a sense of immediate gratification.

Repeated exposure – in this case, to “information pleasure” – hijacks leaders’ brains to continually seek more information.

The end result is confusion, avoidance patterns in tackling challenging tasks and reactive decision making.

  • Leaders are jeopardizing their companies with decision-making fatigue.

Research has shown that, to deal with this constant influx of information, your brain assumes that the latest news is the most important.

Behavioral economist George Lowenstein of Carnegie Mellon University calls this the “urgency effect.” The urgency effect means that your brain tends to overvalue immediacy over quality of information.

The implications of this brain bias are that leaders will feel compelled to make quick (often poor) decisions over right decisions.

  • Information overload is inhibiting your leadership creativity.

Leaders’ brains need “space” to synthesize new with existing information and identify new connections and hidden patterns.  With information overload, leaders are less likely to make those crucial creative connections. 

5.    The third evolution of leadership intelligence – what I call Transcendent Leadership — is now emerging.

Leadership styles evolve over time to meet the changing needs and values of business.

Transactional leadership – dominant in the 20th century –emphasized disciplinary power, the smooth flow of daily operations and rewards/punishments to drive performance.

At the start of the 21st century, Transformational leadership became the new leadership style — focused on long-term vision, team-building, collaboration and employee engagement.  At the heart of transformational leadership is the development of awareness with such capabilities as Emotional Intelligence and Conscious Capitalism.

What’s the next evolution of leadership?

I call it Transcendent Leadership.  A Transcendent Leader has a level of super-consciousness that transcends the physical world (including time and space) and drives exceptional results through the quantum world — ie., the world of energy, thoughts and spirit.


Photo: Robert Couse-Baker

Transcendent leaders go beyond emotional intelligence and focus on energetic intelligence.  They know how to tune into others’ energies and ignite their deepest motivation and potential.

They have mastery of mind, imagination and energy — pushing the boundaries in what is possible and achieving what is impossible.  They have the ability to “rise” above their thinking mind (aka metacognition) and disconnect from their own perceptual biases and limiting beliefs that hold them back.

6.    Increased time starvation and anxiety will create more crises. 

Many leaders believe that more is better.  That saying yes to everything creates more success.  That going to more meetings feels more productive.  That having a packed calendar is what good leadership is all about.

The truth is … more is less productive.  More creates more crises and escalates stress to levels beyond what leaders know how to control.

Doing more drives an even bigger problem amongst leaders …

Time Starvation. 

Time scarcity amongst leaders is NOT a time management issue.  It’s a mindset issue and a company culture issue.

The drive for more and a leader’s addiction to busyness prevent them from pulling back and reflecting on core issues and strategies for the long term. 

7.   Leadership brain training and coaching will become the new paradigm for developing leaders.

To prepare leaders adequately for the future, companies will need to change how they develop leaders.

Much of today’s leadership development methods focus on building external capabilities and changing behaviors.  While those are needed, both areas are a byproduct of how a leader’s brain is wired.

Leaders’ brains are overtaxed, hit with a level of complexity and information unlike any time before.  Behavior changes nor skills development won’t solve these problems.

The solution requires a new type of executive coach or consultant.   It requires experts in brain training and reprogramming.

Those companies who utilize brain training technologies to develop their leaders will increase performance in days and weeks, rather than months and years from conventional methods.


Not only will companies need to prepare for a shortage of leaders.  They must also train their leaders with a new generation of leadership skills to succeed in the future.

Companies must also find innovative ways to protect and expand a leader’s most important asset – his/her cognitive brain capacity – in the midst of increased information overload, complexity and time scarcity.

At the same time, experts in brain training and energy leadership are emerging.  These experts can provide leaders with the necessary capacity to think on higher and more complex levels to handle future challenges.

The question is … what are you doing to get ready for these trends?

Remember:  “Fortune favors the prepared.”


Denise Corcoran helps growth-seeking companies develop game-changing leadership teams and organizations that drive double and triple digit growth … by design. Her company — The Empowered BusinessTM — is one of the few companies providing whole brain, strategic solutions for unleashing leadership and organizational potential that conventional methods can’t achieve. Learn how to master your Inner Game of Leadership, by downloading our free report – Wired to Win Big. Connect with Denise at her Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter or contact her via email.


Denise Corcoran works with CEOs and executive teams seeking rapid growth yet are challenged by the “invisible barriers” that keep them stuck, overwhelmed or in crisis mode. Her company —The Empowered Business — is one of the few companies providing whole brain, strategic solutions for unleashing leadership and organizational potential. Her secret sauce is assisting CEOs and executive teams develop the “X factor” – i.e., the mindset, attitudes and game-changing thinking -- that drives double and triple digit growth … by design.


Posted by Denise Corcoran on January 9, 2015 in Goal Achievement, Leadership Development, Leadership Performance, Mindset, Profitability, Strategic Thinking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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