Hybrid Leaders

There has been a term going around businesses lately called ‘Hybrid Leaders’. These are not people that run off of gas and electricity (or can’t decide between coffee or tea). These are the new face, the new ‘idea’ in business leadership. Some names that are being pegged to this term are President Obama (@barakobama), Virgin CEO Richard Branson (@RichardBranson) and chair­woman of Pep­siCo Indra Nooyi.

So what makes these hybrid leaders different? We are in an era of communication. The internet has brought conversations from across the world together. Social media has made it so we can discuss openly about and with companies and brands. There is no more pyramid in business when it comes to conversation, and its these leaders who are at the forefront of the conversations.

There used to be a time when the boss was in charge, had no one to answer to, and commanded from a desk on the top floor. That has now all changed. To illustrate, Beth Day Romulo, from MB.com, explains hybrid leaders here:

Their distinguishing traits are firstly, a habit of listening closely to their employees or constituents, and leading by empathy. They are apt to engage both sides of questions, to allow those who work with them to feel that their position has been heard.

They seek the universal quality in others, the mix of curiosity, openness and versatility which draws people in, so that they never feel that they don’t belong.

While traditional leaders were valued for consistency, hybrids make use of inconsistency. They are apt to come from no one place geographically or ideologically. They speak many languages, figuratively and actually.

So what does this mean for business? With the rise of social conversations, leaders must change and adapt to the new world. They must listen and engage. They are known for empathy, not control. They must break tradition and explore new ideas and business methods. They realize that there are no separation by language or country or religion. They must be real.

Great article on Hybrid Leaders from writer Anand Giridharadas: http://anand.ly/articles/new-leaders-find-strength-in-diversity

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