Table of Contents
- Challenges Facing Today’s Leadership
- 1. Change of Managers to be Leaders
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- 2. The Technological Change
- Blueprint for Dynamic Planning
- Breadth and Depth of Knowledge is Invaluable
- Ability to Connect the Dots and Seek Common Ground
- The Future is Not Necessarily the Prediction of the Present Day
- Need for Reflection and Enlightenment
- Wide Peripheral Vision
- Belief in Knowledge Creation and Discovery Thinking
- Courage and Personal Responsibility
- Areas of Focus in Future Leadership
- Lessons from Past Leadership
- Choosing the Current and Next Generation Leader
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Leadership being a reciprocal process between the leader and those who wish to follow should look at the dynamics of these two sides. According to the 80/20 rule, for eighty percent (80%) of the results that any leader expects from his people, twenty percent (20%) come from the leadership activities they practice (Blanchard, 2009). The strategies, skills, tactics, and practices, should aim at connecting the leader and the follower in fulfillment of the overall business goals. In most cases, for this relationship to exist, the followers look for the leaders’ individual, interpersonal and organizational differences. In addition, for these people to follow someone willingly, they must believe that their leader is honest, competent, inspiring and, lastly, future oriented (American Institute of Architects, 2011).
Challenges Facing Today’s Leadership
Challenges facing leaders of the present and the future are rooted in the ability of these leaders to adapt to different situations. They can be divided into two wide groups of management practice and adaptation to the ever-changing technological advancement.
1. Change of Managers to be Leaders
For businesses to maintain their competitive edge, the current way of organizational management needs to change and embrace new concepts of leaderships. These new leadership styles should be inclusive. In fact, organizational management should draw on the leadership skills with emphasis on the participative management, relationship building, and changes in the managements. Presently, managers run the businesses, but if any change is expected in the nearest future, leaders should be incorporated in the place of managers. Managers tend to focus on maintaining the existing stability and the status quo. They also use their power to implement policies and procedures in an objective way rather than emotional manner. On the other hand, leaders tend to focus on the future, they strive to create change, and use their unique powers in creating an emotional culture link with their followers, based on their shared values (Nahavandi, 2011).
2. The Technological Change
Today’s economy competes on the human talents, ideas, and overall global change in the structuring due to the elevated rate of technology development. These changes come along with easier ways of doing jobs. It is the role of a leader to ensure that any new technology is sufficiently analyzed, before it is incorporated within the business setup in order to maintain the competitive edge. It is a challenge for the leaders is to act as change masters. They should not be afraid of change, rather they should be able to initiate and implement changes successfully. In addition, they should retain the control even in situations of uncertainty (Tjosvold & Leung, 2004). For example, with the changing trend in the technology, most business leaders are engaging in advanced courses in an effort to remain viable and be in control. Leaders attend courses on networking to be able to monitor the work progresses even at the comfort of their homes.
Blueprint for Dynamic Planning
In choosing connected future-oriented leaders, we should be guided by the following eight principles. The principles are wide. They include every aspect that should be taken care of. The future leaders should be more than just leaders for them to cope with ever increasing challenges in the business fields. According to Marx, they should possess the following (Marx, 2006, p. 25):
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Curiosity, Persistence, Imagination, and Genuine Interest in Everything
Any future leader should have natural curiosity to enhance their knowledge of issues concerning them. The leaders have to listen to the people with diverse opinions that surround him (Iacocca & Whitney, 2008). The opinions can be positive or negative but listening to them is important for being an informed leader. This way effective leaders are always updated with market changes and viable new business opportunities. In addition, these leaders should advance their knowledge in a bid to be at par with any changes globally, and thus avoid risky ventures. This curiosity, persistence, and general interest should also go beyond the actual occupation or profession (Iacocca & Whitney, 2008).
Breadth and Depth of Knowledge is Invaluable
The extent of knowledge and ability to use it should be broad. The future leader should possess knowledge of using limited resources available, to do more than expected of him with maximum efficiency. The way of understanding the organizational structure and working should be deep enough to be applied in more than one way. The leader should know how to handle the employees, either at work or during fieldwork, while at the same time maintaining trust and respect deserved.
Ability to Connect the Dots and Seek Common Ground
Almost everything is interconnected. Therefore, the future leader should be able to read the warning signs of any promising and risky opportunity arising into the near future. In other words, any true leader should be able to back off, prepare or exploit an opportunity incoming in the future. Connecting of the dots to the future allows these leaders to achieve and maintain businesses in the path of growth. By the knowledge of related issues in leadership and business atmosphere, any future leader should solve arising problems in management easily. In addition, prevention of the same mistakes will produce a permanent solution rather than just the temporary one that looks at the problem in a superficial manner. The leader should use relevant information in the making of decisions. In most cases, the information available is either incomplete or manipulated. Therefore, the future-oriented leader should follow up on the information to verify its validity before engaging in any decision making.
The Future is Not Necessarily the Prediction of the Present Day
Any future-oriented leader should aim at creating a business of the future. The pace of technological changes and developments has overtime led to modification of the popular trends, products so that technology itself is becoming obsolete. Plus, he/she should be willing to accept change in the business environment and adapt to it. How well the leader follows the advancement in technology may play a vital role in putting the business at an advantage over other related companies. In addition, this will keep him prepared for any unexpected development that may affect the business atmosphere.
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Need for Reflection and Enlightenment
Having quiet moments, helps in finding our perspectives. Reflection is essential for self-discovery and understanding of our environment. Therefore, a future leader should always have time for himself/herself, to reflect on decisions and goals of the company or the situation involved. Therefore, isolation for the case of reflection and information search should not be taken as isolation. Any leader who has some time for himself/herself will be able to identify the wrong decisions he has made and, therefore, collect them.
Wide Peripheral Vision
In order to avoid unexpected surprises, the leader should have a wide peripheral view, which in turn helps to avoid the blindness associated with goal setting. In order to do this, leaders should constantly look out for the ideas and trends outside their existing fields that could affect the hopes, dreams, possibilities, research, plans and desires of the business (Marx, 2006).
Belief in Knowledge Creation and Discovery Thinking
The future leader should be the one that encourages creative thinking and innovation. He/she should also establish effective environment for the inventions and creative thinking to take place. These innovations and creative ideas lead to substantial productivity, revolutionary technology with its innovative techniques.
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Courage and Personal Responsibility
Courage and personal responsibility helps to overcome fear and maintain business achievements. The future leader, therefore, ought to be courageous and possessing a high level of personal responsibility. This way, he will demonstrate to employees the way through any situation the company is involved.
Areas of Focus in Future Leadership
Any leadership should aim at influencing the individuals and groups within the organization. This should be in terms of establishing goals, and guiding the employees towards the achievement of those goals (Nahavandi, 2011). With the complexity of the issues within the past and present leadership, the organizations will need to be more adept at their drawing on collective resources in identifying challenges. They need to understand the implications of those challenges as well as work in interdependent ways to solve them. They need to work across the organizational and administrative boundaries, in order to unlock the knots of the technical, adaptive, and other key challenges within these organizations (Hesselbein & Goldsmith, 2011). They also need to develop new, viable and long-lasting solutions to today’s deficiencies in the leadership.
Lessons from Past Leadership
Inclusion of a wide range of expertise is extremely valuable in decision making; involvement of all parties should take place in the decision making process. This should be done regardless of the level of expertise. For example, during the building of the East Building of the National Gallery of Arts in Washington, D.C., all construction workers with the broad range of specialties were invited to a meeting. The project involved one of the longest continuous pouring of concrete in history. During that meeting, one of the workers commented that “… if we do not do a decent job vibrating that concrete, people will see it thousand years” (Marx, 2006). Due to this, other workers were doing their jobs perfectly. This resulted in building of the world’s leading gallery. This indicates that sometimes minor details may be left out during the design but can easily be brought to light by a specialist in the areas involved.
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Every investment should withstand the test of time; investments in any company should be well researched in terms of the adaptability to the situations that may arise. Therefore, the leaders need to have sufficient expertise in the current trends to prevent the incurring of large losses. When wired telephones were a common means of communication, many companies invested in its infrastructure not anticipating the introduction of the mobile phones. This led to these companies having reduced incomes and others incurring massive losses with the entrance and popularization of the mobile phones.
The leader should always have a large peripheral vision to help him/her avoid the risks that may arise. It seems that many existing problems in the organizations could have been avoided, if individuals involved had had a peripheral vision of their activities. One example is the impact of the contraceptives on the birth rates. With the introduction of the effective contraceptives in some countries, the birth rates went well below the growth of economy. This led to a deficit in the trained workforce, and reliance on imported human capital.
One way to achieve motivation is to set high goals. To illustrate, in one study involving the motivation and personality, the former general manager of Ford (and later Chrysler), Lee Iacocca, was identified as an excellent manager. According to him, his father served as a role model and his stimulator by setting high expectations on him. In one part of his biography, he writes that his motivation was due to his father’s pressure to the class (Antonides, 1996, p. 51). In his career, Lee Iacocca turned Chrysler Company from the blink of bankruptcy to highly profitable company. He attributes this to setting high goals, courage and dedication to his work.
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The leaders should be knowledgeable; the present and the future societies need leaders who understand the complexities of any ever-changing global environment. Therefore, he/she should be intelligent, sensitive and should demonstrate the ability to empathize with others in order to motivate them in the achievement of excellence (Nahavandi, 2011). If the leader cannot be able to connect to the junior employees feelings, then it becomes impossible to interact with them. This leads to the development of the class differences and alienation with his followers. For example, before Carly Fiorina ever became CEO (Chief Executive Officer), of Hewlett Placard Company, she always knew how work things out in the right way before everyone else (Burrows, 2003).
Choosing the Current and Next Generation Leader
The future of the leadership sector will typically be influenced by how well all aspects of knowledge will be applied in it. On the other hand, this depends on our leadership models, the human behavior, direction, Communication, Motivation, Character, and Leadership Styles involved. The teamwork, Time Management, Mentoring, our reaction to Change, our vision, and our Strategy & Tactics for dealing with the same also play a vital role (Clark, 2012). In the leadership models, the difference in how the administrator applies an individual model goes a long way in ensuring the business success. In addition to this, leaders need to know the ways of interacting with their followers, whether they are superior to them or juniors. To gain their support, they must understand their nature and encourage them.
How well the leader knows how to apply the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in their followers plays a vital role in the unity of all towards one common goal. According to Maslow, the needs of the workers can be classified into basic needs, safety needs, belongingness and love, esteem, cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualization, and lastly self-transcendence in that order to form a pyramid (Montana & Charnov, 2008). The basic needs are set at the bottom of the pyramids while the others follow it up in the same manner. According to Maslow, basic needs must be satisfied first before other higher needs. Basic needs are physiological and psychological in nature and must be fulfilled first, for well-being of the workers or followers. The physiological, basic need includes the food water and sleep. On the other hand, the psychological basic needs include the need for affection, security and the overall self-esteem. The higher needs are also called the growth needs. They include the justice, fairness, beauty, unity and order. Therefore, the leadership that is required by the current and future generations should focus on the provision of needs (Montana & Charnov, 2008). The motivation factors differ depending on the individuals needs in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, therefore, the method of leadership should cater for this deviation. “The only way to keep people with you is to realize their dreams, fund their ideas and help them realize what they want to accomplish (Tjosvold & Leung, 2004, p. 141)”.
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In addition, the leader should have a deeper understanding of the factors that act as motivators or the ones that dissatisfy. This needs a deeper understanding of the Herzberg’s hygiene and motivational factors (Montana & Charnov, 2008). According to Herzberg, the factors that affect the output and growth of any business venture can be classified into two. The hygiene or dissatisfiers are the job related factors that reflect on what the people want from their work. On the other hand, the motivators increase the workers working ability. Some of these hygiene factors include the working conditions, policies and other regulatory policies, supervision and job status. They also include income and other benefits, job security, personal life and relationship with other co-workers. The leader should be able to identify these factors easily. The amount and quality of work done by the workers is significantly affected by these factors. These factors should be kept at the minimum. The motivators include subjecting the workers to more challenging jobs, increasing their role as well as giving chances of personal growth, and advancement. In addition, they should also be acknowledged or recognized for every achievement they are responsible for. Any future leader should strive to provide these motivators by ensuring job enrichment (Montana & Charnov, 2008).
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Lastly, the present and the future leader should have some knowledge of the McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. According to McGregor, there exist two opposing ways and perceptions in which people view the behavior of humans in organizational setup. In Theory X, people have an inherent dislike for work, and avoid it at all cost. So they must be forced, threatened, and directed in order to achieve the overall goals. The individuals also do not like the responsibilities and have low or no initiative while doing their work. In addition, the individuals seek security at all costs.
Future leaders should strive to achieve and utilize the Theory Y in their organizations. According to Theory Y, the individuals in the organization find the work being natural and desirable. People in an organization exercise self-direction, accept and seek responsibilities, are innovative and display an unlimited potential. In any Theory Y situations, the role of leadership is to improve the employees’ potential and lead them towards the organizational goals. The future leadership should at any cost establish leadership that encourages the employees by the use of Theory Y.
In conclusion, as more complex challenges arise with their demands of much more innovative responses, leadership should also be dynamic. Therefore, it is vital for societies to understand leadership and it can be practiced in order to impact positive changes. Strong and future-oriented leadership will remain critical to the success of organizations (Hesselbein & Goldsmith, 2011). Therefore, with the complexity of the issues, these leaders should encourage the leadership approach that is inclusive for their development as well as in other employees. The ability to draw on the leadership skills emphasizing on the participative management, relationship building, and changes in the managements will become an indispensable part of the definition of the effective leadership in the future (Hesselbein & Goldsmith, 2011).
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