A lot has been said and written about leadership especially in last few years when it seems we have been witnessing quite a twist and turn in perceptions of what the future (or present?) leaders should be like? There are various definitions and interpretations but from experience exchanged with experts from the field it is quite evident that the way nowadays leadership is perceived is fairly different to that from 20 or 50 years ago.
In the 21st century people have changed. We also changed our mindsets and values system. As a result leadership changed. Businessworld has faced a tremendous pace of commercial and technological progress and is now set in a hyper-competitive (business) environment. Organisations had to adapt to a relatively more unstable world. Time of task-oriented and autocratic leaders seems to be long gone and one of the reasons lies in aforementioned facts. But that doesn’t mean the fundamental qualities of effective leaders are any less important nowadays. We (still) need leaders who inspiringly communicate their clear vision and are committed to the goals. What changed is the style.
“Today, the only effective leadership is serving others. It’s no longer optional. It’s the essence of twenty-first century leadership«, James Strock, entrepreneur and author of Serve to lead.
So, how do we perceive leadership today? What characteristics do we attach to great leaders? Let’s start with power. Power, in the context of leadership, is the influence leaders have over their followers. Back in the day power was mostly used by managers who made all the decisions, rarely including employees. In modern times this style is obviously outdated. Great leaders of today share their power with their team members. It’s called empowering. This means work is no longer ordered from above but powered from within. As a result we get way more collaboration between employees which leads to higher innovation and creativity. By sharing power leaders increase trust, loyalty and respect. Aren’t those among crucial elements in a good organizational culture?
We will try to answer these questions next week. Stay tuned!