Traditional leadership styles from the 19th and 20th Centuries tended to involve strict hierarchies, superiority, winners and losers. To lead, people felt the need to prove they are better than everyone else. Leadership was about “power” and its abuse, loneliness and affectations. In the latter part of the 20th Century, there was a gradual decline in hierarchies which is evermore the case in the first decade of the 21st Century.
So how does this impact business? What does it suggest about leadership and success in the twenty first Century? Facets of leadership in the 21st Century. From our experience, successful businesses (be they high quality start-ups or companies looking for rapid growth), recognise new values essential to their success. It is “out with the old” and in with: “flat structures”; inclusive management style that involves all people in the organisation, not just senior management; openness and transparency; genuinely equal opportunities, regardless of race, ethnic origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities etc.; empowering – i.e. committed to empowering each and every member of the team.
21st Century leadership is not about bullying and high-handedness or even intellectual or financial superiority. It is about playing to strengths, working around or minimising weaknesses, authenticity and not being fazed by challenges. Above all, it is about being straight in communications both internally and externally.
It seems that every decade or so there is some new fad the runs through the business world in terms of supervision and in the world of diversity management, downsizing, outsourcing, generational work conflicts and the information age, things are even more complicated than ever before.
No longer does a one size fits all leadership model really work. We can’t treat everyone the same and expect that everything will just “work out” somehow. Managers and leaders must have a framework with which to manage their workers in a way that honors everyone’s unique and specific position on the job.
Empowered leadership is the way to do just that. Empowered leadership shares the power between management and the workers, thus empowering both groups.
Question: I own and run a company, but my leadership skills are sometimes lacking. My Senior Team refers to me as “Mr. Softy,” because I fail to discipline those who breach company policies. I am having particular difficulty with my VP of Sales. While he does bring in new accounts, he consistently enters them incorrectly and causes all sorts of problems for production staff. My team keeps telling me to “let him have it,” but I am not sure what to say. How do I make him accountable without simply firing or threatening to fire him?
Answer: Congratulations! You are already demonstrating great leadership wisdom by seeking solutions aside from threatening job loss. The accountability you want would never develop from firing or threatening to fire, anyway. Exceptional
I hear four questions asked about leadership often. This article gives a short answer to each of these important questions.
Why Does Leadership Matter?
Parents universally hope that their children develop leadership qualities. They know that leaders are people who are effective in what they do, are respected by others, and typically rewarded for those skills in a variety of ways. It is in these formative years that, through our parents, we first see leadership as desirable and important. As young people we look up to people around us that motivate and listen to us; people that seem like “real-life” heroes. We consider these people leaders. As we grow we begin to relate leaders to their
Every meeting provides an opportunity to learn important things about the people who attend. Here's what to watch for:
Is it planned?
Effective leaders always begin with clearly defined goals and then prepare plans for achieving them. They have the courage to set a direction and then make changes as new information becomes available. They communicate with candor knowing that people perform at their best when they know what is expected. Thus, did the person who called this meeting prepare an agenda? Was the agenda distributed before the meeting? Did the agenda tell you everything that you needed to know to work effectively in the meeting? If so, this serves as a positive indication of effective leadership planning.