The innovation age requires leaders to think differently about how they bring out the best in themselves and their people.

The leader of the future is the leader who asks rather than tells, who mentors rather than directs, who requests rather demands, and who collaborates rather than commands. As with so many other shifts taking place today, there is a fundamental shift in what constitutes good leadership, i.e. the kind of leadership that brings out the best in people and creates a high-performing workplace. Let’s conceptualise the evolution of leadership as follows:

Leadership 1.0: I’ll tell you what to do.” This is the traditional style of authoritative command and control leadership, where the leader makes the decisions.

Leadership 2.0: “I’ll provide direction and trust you to do your job.” This is the leader who demonstrates confidence in their team members and trusts them to get things done without micro-managing them.

Leadership 3.0: “I’ll provide you with the opportunity, resources, context and space to develop yourself so you can perform at the highest level possible and I’ll make myself available to mentor, guide and advise as needed.” This is the supportive leader who creates an environment in which innovation can flourish by tapping into the inherent talent of the team and actively supporting their development.

But even these distinctions don’t tell the whole story. Because ultimately a good leader needs to be flexible enough to work across all styles. That is Leadership 4.0!

Leadership 4.0 has the wisdom to know when to be highly directive versus when to be a catalyst when to provide structure versus when to remove it, and when to mentor versus when to instruct. Giving a team member too much responsibility before they are ready for it, or before they have the skills to fulfill it effectively, can result in them going on stress leave. Conversely, not giving people opportunities to challenge and stretch themselves when they are ready for it can end up with them leaving. They’ll find somewhere else more satisfying.

For this, leaders need “social intelligence”. This is the ability to understand the situation, including the context and relationships. It is also the capacity to select an appropriate response and, ultimately, vary one’s behaviour in response to changing conditions. The University of Phoenix’s Institute for the Future produced a report identifying the top-10 skills needed for the workplace of 2020.[1] Social intelligence was identified as being number two on the list. Number one was sense making – the ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed. In other words, understanding context through deep insights and intuition (something that artificial intelligence has trouble with).

To be a socially intelligent leader:

  • Take the time to get to know your team members in a way that builds trust.
  • Look for those subtle but important cues that signal unspoken needs.
  • Be prepared to offer the tools, advice and the wise counsel of a mentor.
  • Adapt your behaviour in response to changing workplace conditions, as well as changing needs of team members.
  • Motivate team members and employees to have a burning desire to be outstanding.

The 4.0 leader says, “I understand you and your context well enough to provide you with what you need to grow, develop and succeed.” The result is an engaged team that takes pride in its work.

The value of a 4.0 leader to an organisation is immeasurable.

Leadership is a privilege. Leaders are given the opportunity to shape the future as well as to shape people’s lives. They can either create or kill people’s sense of purpose, meaning and significance at work. Today above all, people are looking for purpose in their work. The leader who can facilitate that will be successful in the workplace of the innovation age and will make good use of workplace knowledge, talent and experience to create a culture of innovation.

Join me for a new half day workshop I’m launching next month called Leading in the Innovation Age where we will unpack this concept in more detail.

Cheers, Irena.

[1] http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf

LAUNCHING Two New Workshops….

Leading in the Innovation Age

Thursday Morning 25th of October (BNE CBD)

The success of your business, organisation or team is dependent on the quality of your leadership. Are your skills up to date? The Innovation Age of the Twenty-First Century requires a new style of leader. Join us to learn about the new leadership skill set for a constantly changing world.

Find out more here – download brochure or check it out on my webpage.


Women’s Empowerment Half Day Workshop

Thursday Afternoon 25th of October BNE CBD

This half-day workshop will reveal the often invisible influences, mindsets and behaviours that shape our daily lives and how we can transform them to our best advantage in our personal and professional contexts. Identify disempowering behaviours, mindsets and habits then replace them! Raise your personal and professional effectiveness. EXPERIENCE A POWERFUL MENTAL MAKEOVER!

Find out more here – download brochure or check it out on my webpage.


The Innovative Leader Mentoring Program spans approximately 90 days, but is designed to slot inside busy schedules.

It includes a two day immersion, webinars, online resources and a virtual collaboration space. You will achieve a high value outcome for your workplace as all participants identify a project to provide the context in which we learn and apply the tools, strategies and frameworks. Win-win all round.

Click here for more information.




“Which kind of adaptor are you in the workplace?”

Friday, 12 October 2018, 11-11:30am


People have varying abilities and response rates to change. Some are able to adapt quickly while others need more time, yet others are resistant and won’t change even if given plenty of time and encouragement.

Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

The principle also applies in our workplaces. Your survival and that of your team and organisation could be greatly influenced by your capacity to adapt and the speed at which you do it.

Join this webinar to find out about:

  • The four different kinds of adaptors;
  • Which kind you are;
  • Based on your adaptation profile – what do you need to do to thrive in the innovation age; and
  • How to effectively lead people with different capacities to adapt.

My book “INTRAPRENEUR” is now available to order.

“Dr. Irena Yashin-Shaw has cleverly captured the future of leadership in this ground-breaking book. She shows how creative and enterprising individuals – INTRAPRENEURS – are transforming their organisations from the inside out. A must read for leaders aspiring to unleash their inner entrepreneur to change the world.

– Allan Pease. Chairman of Pease International and author of 18 top ten bestsellers.

Order Intrapreneur from here drirenayashinshaw.com/product/intrapreneur


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