There’s a new style of leadership. It’s fascinating and frightening to watch. Depending on the outcome, which is currently at play in real time, the implications for the future of leadership will have dramatic implications.

Contemporary leadership theory espouse collaboration, charisma, empathy, servantile to others and sensitivity to the environment. It would though appear that along with poster child Barack Obama, this leadership style has peaked and its heyday is rapidly fading. Hardnosed and uncompromising leaders from newly elected Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Xi Jinping, Theresa May and especially Donald Trump threaten to tear up leadership convention with fierceness and ferocity.

In the case of the latter two, if May gets her messy Brexit and Trump gets his wall, then their leadership style will move into the mainstream. The shelves in book stores will strain under the weight of how to “Lead by blinking last – the guide to populist leadership.”

You may think #TrumpCaved and Pelosi won but, the temporary end to the US government shutdown is an interlude. As Trump says in a tweet, soon it will be “off to the races.”

Populism leadership promises enticing results. Studies show populists leaders are highly skilled at staying in power. On average, CEO and political leaders styled by democratic values remain at the helm for a brief span of time: three to six years. However, populist leaders, by contrast, manage to sustain their hold for significantly longer periods. On average, they remain in power for more than twice as long as their non-populist rivals, meaning they are in power for well over a decade.

For someone attracted to becoming a powerhouse leader, there is scant incentive anymore to follow the Barack style of leadership when the Trump bravura offers so much more.

Populist leaders are going to discover they have a growing voice of experts and proponents exuding their leadership virtues. Unfortunately, this is evolutionary leadership going backwards.

The eco-warriors in Davos though do themselves no favours. They fly in on their multi-million pound jets, eat oysters, caviar and expensive champagne. Whilst talking up the virtues of managing excesses in our lives and adopting a vegan diet to save the planet. The leadership elite have lost the script and are increasingly out of touch with the Precariate. This is fuelling further the power of non-populist leaders.

Leadership has taken a nasty turn, the question is, who and what form will fight back?

In everything Dean does, he believes in challenging people to use the power of business to innovate and do remarkable things. He believes that the most amazing innovations of the 21st century are yet to be invented. But a remarkable century will not just happen, we have to create it. Chat to us if you’d like to have Dean do a workshop or keynote presentation for your upcoming event.

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