Leadership Challenges of 21st Century

Topics: Leadership, Management, 21st century Pages: 8 (2706 words) Published: November 1, 2012
A Paper on

Leadership: A Glance into Challenges for 21st Century Leader

Leaders have always been our source of inspiration, passion and motivation to make us believe, try and achieve things that we may not have envisioned to achieve. However, with the growing complexities, rate at which changes are occurring and other dynamics of the corporate world, the leaders and leadership is being tested more than ever before. It seems that the old leadership styles and fundamentals are not effective anymore or, may be, have lost their relevance completely. This paper tries to look into the need of the contemporary business scenario and to understand the aspects that a leader must focus in order to defy the challenges in front of them. The paper propound that to be effective in such a scenario, there is immense need for widening the horizon, inclusion, managing and taking advantage of the diversity and focus on creating future leaders instead of centralized heroic figures called leader. This paper also strongly advocates that all this has to be built around a strong ethical system that rests on an accepted and internalized foundation of common and constant core values. Though the future is uncertain and hazy and still there is a long way to go in 21st century, by doing so the leaders will be able to be ahead of time and change, as a leader must.

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” - Stephen R. Covey Joel Barker, a futurologist gives us a simple, yet insightful definition of the term "leader." According to him leader is a person whom others "opt" to follow, to go someplace they would not go by themselves. That "someplace" is, of course, is a place in the future filled with uncertainties. This statement necessitate that a leader is a person who does not command followership. Rather, others "opt to follow" him. Especially true in times of uncertainty and dynamism, leaders must focus on leading their organizations through the necessary changes…not just managing them. The job of a manager is to keep the current system operating; to maintain consistency, control, order, and predictability while minimizing risk. Change, however, calls for challenging the status quo, creating new systems and ways of operating and sometimes taking risks. That’s the job of a leader In core, Leaders deal with two things: complexities and opportunities. We need leadership to steer us away from complexities and to steer us towards opportunities. The focus on capability building, identifying and unleashing potential and energy is a key to counter such complexities and to take the advantage of such opportunities for ensuring long term sustainability. The entire Corporate World globally need effective leadership having multiple traits like Vision, Energy, Enthusiasm, Warmth, Integrity, Intelligence, Persistence and Perseverance. Accordingly to Venu Srinivasan, C M TVS Motor Company “Leadership is seen as a three-pronged situational variable. It is as much dependant on the leader as a person as on the nature of people being led, their culture, background and expectations, and the task or situation at hand and”.

Fig. 1.0 Variables Defining Leadership
The essence of leadership is in creating an unusual new value that does not exist yet, enlisting the support of people and carrying them across a abyss that separates the current state from the desired state. The ability of a leader to create such value depends on two things: Futuristic Vision and innovation. According to Peter Drucker, most problems cannot be solved. You can only stay ahead of them by envisioning them much before you encounter them. It has never been truer than in the hyper-dynamic present times and it will be even more relevant in the future. Secondly, The power of innovation is directly linked to the existence of problems. Leaders with innovation create...
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