The rise of the expert (as) leader

By: Janice McBrown

Many economies around the world are shifting away from traditional industries such as manufacturing and construction and increasingly towards technical industries such as technology, creative and knowledge-based expertise.

In particular, knowledge intensive services have been a major source of growth over the last two decades. Knowledge intensive services include communications, digital, creative and information services, financial services, business services, research and development as well as education.

Other emerging industries with a high concentration of technical experts across the world include renewable energy and environmental goods and services. And of course, traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing have a high proportion of technical experts which includes pharmaceuticals, engineering, chemicals, aerospace, automotive, transport equipment and ICT instruments.

Based on our research and expertise, this paper aims to explore a number of key considerations:

  • how is the nature and prevalence of ‘technical experts’ within the workplace changing?
  • what are the key competences of expert leaders that may impact on leadership capability?
  • How can organisations employ practical strategies and interventions to improve leadership capability amongst technical experts?

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