Leadership in 21st Century

Taking on a new leadership role is difficult. It’s not necessary that you would be offered a leadership role, where you have prior exposure. But having analyzed this I conclude that the basic thing of a leader is to manage and perform the allied task, but if the leader has technical know-how of what he will lead would definitely be a plus point.

Selecting the right set of people, who you would be working with closely, is very important. Try to understand and learn about the subordinates and superiors. Trying to exchange thoughts on the important topics of interest is vital. After the interaction, if a person seems to be unfit for the role, after giving some consideration the person should be asked to leave the organization or assigned a new project which will improve his value creation for the organization.

One of the challenges with 21st-century leaders is of radical transparency. Customers, Stakeholders always want to stay connected to the organization. The best way to perform fine in this era is to stand by the side of Truth. There’s an old saying, you won’t have to remember what you said last time if you say truth every time.

In this era, a collaborative approach is very much important. Be it in the leadership style or be it in day to day working of the organization. The benefits are numerous. When we talk about the leadership context, a collaborative leadership style allows each team member to focus on what they are best at doing. Each person has the freedom to bring their strengths and thought processes to each project.

When it comes to the operational aspect, well I feel one can’t be a master of all games, to excel it’s in the interest of business that you collaborate with the best. Some of the advantages are: it empowers a business with the best in a class quality product, cost reduction, etc.

Leading collaboration is one of the crucial aspects of the success or failure of a project. Setting the context of the problem and then letting the team member brainstorm is the best way to do it as per my understanding. The leader’s role is to provide resources and remove roadblocks.

The motivation of workers is one of the most important factors for the success of company. Incentivizing a good measurable performance is a good way to keep the workers motivated. The incentive criteria should be different for different streams of the workforce. Management can’t have the same incentive circular for an R&D person as compared to a Salesperson. It’s important to fix measurable guidance for the incentive circulars. CEO reports to the board of directors, the cordial relationship between top management and the board of directors is of top essence. The effective BOD should be small in size, have experts from different walks of life. The most important factor for effective governance is that the thought process of BOD should align with the long term goal of the organization. Necessary and tactical changes should be done in BOD when required.

Leading the change is as important as the framework of change. Top management and middle management play a pivotal role in leading a change. Hardly few like to change, but we have seen many companies fail because they refused to change or they delayed the change. Consider Nokia, Kodak for example.

Talent management is an organization’s commitment to recruit, hire, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market. Leaders play an important task in this. Make the environment conducive for the creamy layer of employees. It’s always a challenge to fulfill the growing demands of the employee. Whenever the desired changes of the employees, which will not cause detrimental effects, or rather will improve productivity should be implemented. A proper talent management department should be established which should take care of the development and retaining of talented employees. The same way as the mobile network operator has for his unhappy and willing to change customers.

Crisis management as a leader is vital; I feel Kanter’s six-step framework for crisis management is very useful. They are SHOW UP, SPEAK UP, LOOKUP, TEAM UP, NEVER GIVE UP, LIFT OTHERS UP. Leaders should set examples and inspire others.

The 21st century is about creating value through innovation. The earlier century was about cost-cutting and efficiency. Consider the example of Lord John Browne as the CEO of British Petroleum was considered as a bean counter and introduced “fix it when it breaks” concept. The more meaningful is your innovation, the more successful you would be. Leaders should inculcate innovative mindset and reward innovations which would be helpful.

Leading execution is vital, if processes are not executed well, all the pre deeds are wasted. Execution leadership means having a strategic mindset and the leadership skills to perform a function, implement a process, or execute a project. 21st Century leaders have to take control of the vital processes and should have a deep understanding of the same.

When you are responsible for the job of 1000’s of employees, the leader’s personal life is not personal anymore. Personal life is very much integrated into professional life. As a leader, you are always in a limelight. Any bad doing in personal life will definitely impact the professional life of a leader or any employee in that matter. A great culture starts with a vision or mission statement. One the vision is set, proper alignment to the culture has to be done. Culture is not something that can be changed easily and frequently. It takes a long amount of time for changes to take place. Culture is something which is the way or direction of what is done and what is to be done in the future.

Hope this article have some resemblance to your thought process. Happy Leadership!

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