What Makes a Great Leader?

What qualities do employees look for in a leader? How can leaders pivot to thrive in the future of work? How can all professionals strive to be seen as leaders in their field?

On Episode 23 of REAL TIME, we speak to Hamza Khan, a global keynote speaker and bestselling author, on what it means to be a great leader as the workplace and workforce continue to evolve.

Khan’s written work includes The Burnout Gamble, which addresses business resilience. Khan tells us more about his journey to becoming a thought leader and speaker and what experiences helped challenge him along the way.

“I describe myself as a lifelong learner,” he said.

Hamza Khan

Khan recalls a time he had to rely on past training in a time of crisis, while his experience was a personal crisis, it helped to strengthen a hypothesis he already had.

When faced with a crisis “a leader doesn’t actually rise to the occasion. That’s an optical illusion caused by other leaders falling back,” said Khan. “You sink to the level of your training in preparation and your preparedness for that leadership moment depends, not on what happens in that moment, but depends on the days, weeks and years of planning and preparation that go into that.”

Khan’s work as a keynote speaker focuses on helping organizations thrive in the future of work.

“I believe that in the future of work, the things that are going to be done by human beings are going to be those that can’t be done by machines,” he said.

While technology will certainly disrupt the workplaces, what’s left will be jobs for humans with soft skills: creativity and critical thinking, for example.

More from REAL TIME:

Khan tells us you can’t always make the right decision, but you can always make a decision and then make it right.

“The key is to just keep on moving. Keep moving forward and keep striving to reach that fourth point in the evolution of an organization,” he said. “You’re going to misstep along the way but that’s a part of the process, a part of the journey.”

The ‘Great Leadership Reinvention’

Khan says there are four qualities that will drive what he calls “the Great Leadership Reinvention”:

  • becoming more human-centric;
  • being change-friendly;
  • becoming more values-driven; and
  • being self-disrupting.

Khan also dives into what workplace trends from the pandemic are likely to stick around. To find out what those are, listen to Episode 23 of REAL TIME to learn more about becoming a great leader.

Don’t miss the latest episode of our French podcast EN DIRECT.

Sarah Doktor brings her experience as a small-town journalist and national online editor to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Sarah helps facilitate conversations between CREA and our members, boards, associations and the public via our online communities. She also helps coordinate the content presented to you here on the CREA Café. In her spare time, Sarah can be found at the gym, running on a trail or watching Netflix with her cat, Libby.


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