For this month’s issue, managing editor Danielle Simpson took on a fun assignment: interview millennials who are making a difference in the flooring industry. In her story, Up Next, she got to know a handful of change agents across the industry—from product development and marketing to data science and installation. What struck me from these interviews is the confidence, inquisitiveness and can-do attitude of these young leaders.

Leaders today face new challenges due to the speed of technological, social and economic change. Data shows that these challenges are calling for a new breed of leaders. A recent report by Deloitte shows that digital business models, augmented workforces, flattened organizations, and a shift to team-based work practices are challenging leaders to step up in new ways. Social issues are becoming corporate issues. Executives are expected to work collaboratively among more groups, and everyone is expected to approach their work with a spirit of kindness and empathy instead of ruling with an iron fist.

Surprisingly, the research shows that while companies expect new leadership abilities, they are still largely promoting traditional models instead of developing skills and measuring leadership in ways that help leaders effectively navigate this new world.

The Deloitte survey data showed that leaders need learn to lead more quickly, lead through more complexity and ambiguity, lead through influence, be able to manage remotely, and manage workforces through a combination of humans and machines.

“The workforce is radically different,” said Erica Volini, Deloitte’s U.S. human capital leader, in Forbes. “Not only is it diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and age, but there’s diversity in how they think about work.”

Volini said that leaders today need to have an inclusive leadership style and be extremely agile. Of course, they also need to be connected and on top of the trends that are happening. 

To nurture these types of leaders, she suggests that companies should encourage their employees to network outside of their organizations. Not only will they be connected to their external environment, they will com across more opportunities to learn about thoughts and strategies they can bring back.

“To me, the big shift is changing leadership programs from being education focused,” Volini added. “This is about a fundamental shift in how we think about these processes. And these leadership programs need to start early in people’s careers.”

How are you nurturing your young talent to create tomorrow’s future leaders? Drop us a line at