Leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and workers, in general, are obliged to develop new skills and strategies for a new market which is seeing advances in science and technology that have together been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Success in this new era will, therefore, require managing teams of highly specialized technical experts: “knowledge workers” such as scientists, engineers, data analysts… In parallel, the world’s increasing interconnectivity is giving us a new form of globalisation in which ever more diverse teams of people are working together.

Managing these teams requires a very different mindset to “standard” leadership and motivational models. It needs an approach that recognizes the heterogeneity, ambition and sophistication of such staff integrating new and relevant skills. In this line, the World Economic Forum published in 2016 (and updated in 2018) the report ‘The Future of Jobs’, highlighting that “current shifts underway in the workforce will displace some workers while at the same time create new opportunities for others,” the Forum’s report said talking about a “growing skills instability” where technology changes the profiles of many current jobs and different competencies are required”. It estimates that more than half of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling in the coming years, a context where it is easy to accept that the role of the leader and his kind of leadership needs to adapt to the new scenario.

This context is the departure point of The Hexagonal Leader, which takes as main reference Project Oxygen, a Google internal study which sets the six key attributes that Google instills in its managers, especially guiding the transition from an employee or individual contributor to leader. These six skills, the base of the Hexagonal Leader training system, are:

  • Mindset and values.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EI).
  • Manager transition.
  • Coaching.
  • Feedback.
  • Decision making.

HL wants to raise awareness of the importance of human skills in a new economic model and a new working world. Entrepreneurs’ ability to be successful is dependent on their resilience and ability to be innovative. Thus, the project aims at developing a training system for leaders according to these features, but also taking into account the skills and needs demanded by the new labour market. Then, the project will be double focused, both on leaders (the main target group) but also in employees, which will be the final beneficiaries of a new and adequate kind of leadership but also in the development of self-leadership.

The project consortium is composed of 6 organisations from 5 different EU countries (PO, SP, IRL, SL, ITA) and shows cooperation between new and old European Member States. A comprehensive partnership has been established, consisting of a solid group of training companies with long experience in the implementation of in company programs, some of them with a solid career in European projects and some newcomers.

To achieve the objectives of the project three Intellectual Outputs will be developed, tested and multiplied: the ‘HEXAGONAL TRAINING’ is a training system for leaders in the new skills demanded by the labour context in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be supplemented by ‘THLE’ (O2), a best practice case study. These will be the umbrella for ‘HEXAWORKERS’ (O3), a self-leadership kit with training tools for employees. All outputs produced will be freely accessible for the public within and beyond the project’s lifetime. THL is likely to have sustainable direct impacts within and beyond the project lifetime on three target groups:

1) Entrepreneurs and managers

2) Employees

3) Companies and organizations active in the field of training and advisory services.

By creating training tools for improving skills and key competences of trainers, managers and employees, the consortium expects to achieve the overall objective of the project: (a) evaluate the effectiveness of developing alternative kinds of leadership, and (b) assess the effectiveness of self-leadership training in the labour context, especially in situations where a specific approach should be revised and adjusted to conform to changes in context.