The world is a complex place, and it’s only getting more complicated. New technologies, changing social attitudes, and a rapidly evolving economic landscape present an ever-shifting array of opportunities and challenges. Navigating these volatile conditions requires a new type of leadership.

The world is a very different place than it used to be. There are more people, more ways to communicate, and everything from supply lines to personal networks can now span the entire globe. All this intricate interconnection gives rise to a set of conditions: volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

500 years ago, there were only a handful of careers to choose from. Today, choosing the right course of study means anticipating a career that might not even exist yet.

Under these conditions, an effective leader needs to cultivate three crucial mental habits.

– Ask questions and broaden your thinking. “Effective leaders ask questions instead of giving orders,” wrote Dale Carnegie nearly 80 years ago in his iconic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, but too few of today’s bosses are following his advice. Good questions create good dialogue. Questions allow leaders to connect with employees and better understand what’s going on with that individual. Ultimately asking questions makes you a better leader.

– Take multiple perspectives. Don’t simply rely only on your point of view. One of the hallmark skills of a strong leader is the ability to listen from multiple vantage points. If you’re looking to increase your leadership effectiveness, expanding this capacity is essential. Listening from multiple perspectives is a skill that builds on empathy, one of the key elements of emotional intelligence. Once honed, it can catapult your ability to lead with impact and influence.

– Leaders need systems. Transforming a complex system – such as the energy, health or food system – is a monumental task requiring coordinated action by people with very different viewpoints. Systems-change initiatives often engage hundreds of organisations – governments, companies, civil society organisations, worker associations, research institutions and others – combining their capacities to achieve a shared goal.

These large-scale initiatives are often driven and supported by people who fit a certain profile – those who are able to catalyse and empower collective action among others, rather than controlling or directing the action themselves. These people are increasingly described as systems leaders.

key message is:

The world is not as simple as it once was. Our increasingly interconnected, fast-paced, and technologically advanced society is becoming more and more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. These conditions require a new form of leadership that is flexible, fluid, and agile. Successful leaders should embrace change, welcome feedback and empower their organisation to continually experiment and explore as they pursue the probable and the possible.