Leadership is a topic that continues to be of interest in the business world but also in government, particularly related to recent events around the world. Leadership should also be a relevant agenda item in your personal life. When thinking about leadership a number of questions come to mind:
- What exactly is leadership as opposed to management?
- Are leaders born or are they created? and
- What does the profile of a future leader look like for the 21st Century?
Leadership is defined as the process involving social engagement that influences people to work together towards the achievement of a common objective or task. Leadership involves creating an environment that inspires and motivates people to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Conversely, management is defined as the process of planning, organising, resourcing, directing and controlling a set of activities in an organisation. Management activities could also be applied to managing yourself or your business.
The misconception that leaders are born not made continues to influence modern-day thinking. Many studies have shown that leaders are created through learning, mentoring and personal experience. Experience being a significant factor to creating a successful leader. A leader must also be able to gain the confidence, support and trust of their team or organisation.
The business environment is constantly changing with new pressures, challenges and opportunities. The current leaders in today’s business environment will need to evolve into the leaders of tomorrow. To adapt to the changing business environment a future leader will need to develop a new profile with the following characteristics:
- Has developed leadership skills and experience, not just an MBA
- Is continuously learning – ongoing professional development and self-education through reading
- Is able to create and articulate a vision for the future
- Defines and establishes clear goals and objectives
- Constantly mentors and develops other leaders
- Has a desire to change – self and the organisation
- Possesses ethical and socially responsible values
- Will be part of a team as much as leading a team
- Will possess lateral thinking skills – creative thinking, innovation and problem solving
- Is able to generate new ideas and identify new opportunities
- Has excellent persuasive communication skills
- Possesses strong “selling” and negotiation skills
- Will lead by example and not be afraid to take action
- Able to represent complex issues in a simple format
- Will be both transformational and transactional
- Constantly monitors progress, reviews outcomes and celebrates success
Do you possess these characteristics to become a successful leader of the future?
Dr John Kapeleris