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4 Key Leadership Trends for 2024

Published Tue Jan 16 2024


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Every year, we create a list of leadership trends shaping up to influence the workplace in the year ahead. But this year is a little different. While I’ll share a short list of the key leadership trends for 2024, a human theme strongly underlies it and is becoming more critical than ever: building trust.

The pace of change has become difficult to keep up with. Not only is there increased pressure and change at work, but also increasing global unrest and uncertainty.


In times that can feel destabilizing, we need stability in the people around us. We want leaders to have a strong vision for the future. We need to be able to trust that leaders will do what they say they will do.

But trust is on thin ground. According to our Global Leadership Forecast 2023 (GLF), less than half of leaders trust their manager to do what’s right. And less than a third say they trust senior leaders in their organization.

Furthermore, as shown in a recent survey by PWC, executives significantly overestimate how much they’re trusted by customers and employees. The same executives also say the biggest challenge to building trust is company culture. In fact, only 34 percent of employees said their company leaders gave appropriate attention to earning trust.

That’s why the 2024 leadership trends are about more than the compounding issues facing leaders. It’s about building a culture and environment of trust that people can count on.

Trend #1: Generative AI


The economic possibilities of generative artificial intelligence (AI) are profound. But so are people’s fear and anxiety. Many employees already fear that AI could push them out of their jobs, or that they won’t be able to keep up in an AI-driven workplace. They may also worry about how their employers could use AI to track them. For instance, is my employer secretly making decisions about my job performance or potential for promotion without my knowledge? And they may be concerned about the overall impact of their company using AI. Are we using AI ethically? Are we communicating to customers about how we use AI?

Leaders in every part of the business—from tech to sales to marketing to finance and more—will need to grapple with the ethical use of generative AI. Amid this uncertainty, it will become more critical that employees trust their leaders, especially senior leaders.

Trend #2: Hybrid Work and the Return to Offices

CEOs say that employee engagement and retention are their top business concerns. Yet, we see a growing gap between executives and their employees on returning to in-person work. This demonstrates that leaders at the top are not connecting with employees to understand what incentives could retain them.

Many company leaders have cited the importance of collaboration, feedback, and teamwork as reasons behind the push toward in-person work. Yet, many workers question whether it’s a matter of their bosses not trusting them to be productive at home. This, in turn, deteriorates their trust in leaders.


Furthermore, employees may feel betrayed if they made significant life and financial decisions (such as relocating or changing childcare arrangements) based on company communications that remote work would continue. Reversing these policies, especially in short time frames and with little communication, creates a major breach of trust. Learn more of the top leadership trends for 2024 in DDI’s blog.

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