Leadership Training In The 21st Century
While some organisations might have good fortune of hiring people with fantastic leading
abilities, what happens when these people take on higher positions? Will their replacement be as good or even
news is that great leadship skills can be learnt through properly structured leadership training
In the 19 and 20th centuries, leadership meant "power". It was about having the biggest,
largest and best organisations. Hierarchies were formed and the person at the top will those under him, the
taller the hierarchy the more power he becomes. At the turn of
the 20th century, people began to flatten these hierarchies and when we reached the
21st century, we are talking about “flat structures”
So how does this impact business? What does it say about leadership in the twenty first Century?
It is time to get acquainted with the new buzz words of leadership:
Flat structures - inclusive management style that involves all people in the organisation, not
just senior management;
Openness and transparency - genuinely equal opportunities, regardless of race, ethnic origins,
religion, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities etc.;
Empowering – i.e. committed to empowering each and every member of the team.
21st Century leadership is not about ruling with an iron-fist or even intellectual or financial
superiority. It is about playing to strengths, working around or minimising weaknesses, authenticity and not
being fazed by challenges. Above all, it is about being authentic in communications.
The 21st century is about relearning and adopting a "can-do"
mentality while avoiding pessimistic and negative language. Words such as "I’ll try to" or "I need
you to..." and other indirect language undermine the communication: "trying" to do anything is preparing for
failure, not taking personal responsibility for causing something to happen. Using language that suggests
there is another reason for why someone should do something rather than simply that you want them to do it
makes people look weak so, "needing" someone to do something is in fact rarely authentic – and should normally
be replaced by "I want you to do X please" or some equivalent straight communication.
Last but not least, leadership in the 21st Century is about "walking the talk" of the
organisation. However, the organisation first needs to be clear about what it is "talking" about before it
can walk it and then it needs to make sure that it is consistent in everything it does: this is anything from
internal relations (with colleagues) through to external relations with customers, suppliers and the public
Making it "authentic"
A leader has to make sure that all of his/her relationships work. Where the relationships are
recognised as being important to the organisation (and we cannot conceive of an organisation where they are
not), special attention needs to be paid to making sure that all documented relationships are consistent with
the values of the organisation and the style of leadership.
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