How Leadership Has Changed

How Leadership Has Changed

The way the priority and the focus on leadership has changed is a function of how organizational and leadership thinking has evolved over the last 30 years or so. To illustrate the difference, we contrast across various situations what leadership used to be and what it means now:

1- Leadership used to be found at the top and now it needs to reside at all levels. Imagine what would happen in a large national or trans-national firm where leadership was centralized. How would the organization operate, let alone succeed?

2- Executives used to be rewarded for being stars but now they are rewarded for success of others in their charge. Smart organizations now ensure in assessing management performance that executives take active responsibility for the success of their time. A “champion” surrounded by mediocre team members is considered an incompetent manager not a lonely hero.

3- Power used to be in rank and position but now power lies in ability to share knowledge. These days no one gives a toss whether you are a CEO or a Global Team Leader. A small time entrepreneur can print a business card to give herself or himself whatever title. What matters now is the ability to inspire, to teach, to impart actionable knowledge.

4- Leadership used to be about being competitive but now seen as changing to collaborative. A leader’s success is now more about leveraging networks, cooperation, partnerships and alliances and less about thwarting the competition.

5- Leadership has moved from selling opinion to creating an inquiry for buy-in. The notion that leadership is about providing all the answers is essentially flawed. leadership is more about asking the right questions, about consultation and about creating ownership through dialog.

6- Leadership used to be about being logical and rational and right. It now needs to embrace need and emotions as well. Nothing demonstrates this better than someone who wins the argument but ends up losing the person.

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