There is so much going on about this subject and yet we see a strong deteriorating trend of this significantly useful human dimension. Are we responsible for overrating it and abusing it like all other things that we tend to do as a society? Are we guilty of not adapting the attributes of this dimension of life to the modern relevance?
Let us take look at the five most important Attributes of leadership and how they differ in interpretation from the traditional to a more contemporary relevance:
Generating a Following VS Generating Collaboration: In times when Information and Knowledge is freely accessible, the leader has to be one who is not only current but is also able to guide (read as show how it is done and take accountability for outcomes) the people he / she is involved with. Holding on to the old values of creating a following only make a leader more exposed to the hypocrisy of doublespeak and plagiarism with the setting of unreal or conflicting expectations.
Setting Direction VS Participating: As we discover every day that change and transformation is 20X faster than the speed of knowledge that we gain on a daily basis, it is important to dynamically plan and execute on the fly. This calls for more participation (read mobilizing for the leader) and not just setting direction and expecting others to follow. Leadership has to be more hands-on with Innovation and that means Change / Transformation Ready personally.
Abstracting Concepts VS Detailing Design: The modern leader is a designer who practically defines and designs the future to a context and is able to offer multiple scenarios that can be implemented. There is no place for leaders today who find it convenient to dream up stuff and expect others to make it a reality. Collective leadership means preparing a design that is detailed as the understanding on the context and subject gets deeper; keeping the course of the desired outcome. Living the Transformation / Change by a Leader is critical to its success.
Being an Inspiration VS Being Influential: Today’s generation respects those who respect them and level with them perhaps at all levels. Equality is a concept that has become synonymous with the changing economic, political and social circumstances. A leader needs to influence the people around to a desired way of thinking than adopting coercive methods or just plain dictating. Elitism doesn’t work anymore. Empathy and Accessibility are a key element of any work of leadership that needs demonstration more than ever today.
Building an Image of Perfection VS Pursuing Excellence: This has been a pitfall of many a leaders in recent times. They are very good at one thing and this becomes their definition. In life, it isn’t so; be it a good or a bad attribute. Just because somebody made a mistake doesn’t make him a bad leader. Similarly, just because somebody delivered a brilliant transaction doesn’t automatically qualify him as one either! Leadership is a lifelong thing and it is not about any one attribute but a number of them enhancing this dimension of one’s personality.
Isn’t it about time that we changed our perceptions being relevant to the modern society and started looking for more complete leaders among our midst? Times are now when we will without doubt see a humongous transformation hit upon us. Perhaps that is what the Mayan Calendar symbolizes; not an end to civilization or Armageddon. But changing the course of evolution and start living in a more relevant way to the context of the times!
There is an undercurrent of violence and terror in every walk of life; manifested as Greed & Competition in Commerce; Power & Poverty in Government and Declining Morality & Lack of Ideals in society. And clearly, Leadership or the lack of it is the cause. Shouldn’t we check this quality as we renew ourselves for a new calendar?