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Discuss The Leadership Trends Among Managers In The 21st Century (Essay Sample)


discuss the leadership trends in the 21st century
the sample discusses the leadership trends among managers in the 21st century.


Leadership Trend Paper
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Leadership trends
The demands of the 21st century are too great to be fulfilled by leaders and conventional leadership of the past. The current business world is more complex, unpredictable and full of paradoxes. Relentless and rapid change is occurring in the new millennium. As noted by Thomas (2008) today, leaders experience challenges and demands that had never been experienced before. Throughout much of the history, standard leadership has been very useful. However, with changing demands, this leadership is quickly becoming a liability. It is mandatory to learn the habits and conventional wisdom of leadership. Initially, we had longed for and idealized a charismatic, strong, decisive and independent leadership. Achieving this leadership may be counterproductive and undermine a sustainable future in the new millennium. Opportunities and challenges of the 21st century require a new type of leadership as well as leaders. A new way of thinking and developing future leaders is called for. This paper will explore current and future leadership trends.
Current Leadership trends
The evolution of leadership has moved from a view that leaders belong to an elite minority and as such they are born. Modernists view leadership and leaders as being able to be bred, be developed, can make themselves or both. According to Bennis, Spritzer & Cummings (2001) the idea that leaders are born is false, he asserts that most good leaders are self. Crevani, Lindgren and Packendorff (2007) seem to agree with this assertion by saying leadership is something that is learnt over time, it is an art that needs to be mastered. Thomas (2008) also seconds this when he says that the next generation of leaders can be developed by companies that set up and manage crucible experiences thus helping aspiring leaders. In the modern days, leadership is considered a social process that includes mutual influence as a key factor (Hernez-Broome and Hughes, 2004).
Crevani, Lindgren and Packendorff (2007) say that present leadership is becoming an increasingly distributed process. The world has become networked and decentralized demanding a new type of leadership, one that is vested on the majority and not in an elite minority or a single individual. For the first time, necessary access to information has become possible to many who must be able and willing to make decisions that are time sensitive in any dynamic situation. Conventional thought continually see leadership as being vested in an individual arguing that the capabilities this individual possess govern how he or she interacts and relates with others. As noted by Covey (2006), for much of the 19th and 20th century, progress was majorly driven by conventional leaders. These leaders were mechanistic, risk averse and had conservative tendencies which may be probably liabilities in the modern era. The leaders of the past were more concerned with centrality, positional power and hierarchy. In the dynamic and uncertain realities of the 21st century, these leaders will perform poorly (Pearce& Manz, 2005).
Future Leadership trends
In the 21st century there are opportunities and problems that have never been experienced before. Previously inconceivable challenges and developments are difficult to envisage but leaders of the new millennium will have to develop a quality way of thinking in order to deal with challenges and opportunities in the new millennium (Des & Picken, 2000). In addition to anticipating possibilities, the leaders must understand emerging trends and identify those that are of great importance. The leaders must engage people in capitalizing on opportunities and responding to threats and lucrative prospects. Characteristics of the 21st century are numerous and as such, they indicate that a great deal of leadership traits and qualities is demanded. Of late, there has been an emergence of the dominance of the global marketplace and a rapid growth in a diverse workforce. Virtual operations have become common place and leaders in the 21st century must be global citizens who embrace diversity, penetrate complexity and know how to utilize every opportunity that becomes available. According to Thomas (2008) management will have to deal with the whole world completely because the 21st century was going to provide a great deal of opportunities. The kind of leadership needed to succeed in the 21st century is making the kind of acceptable leaders different. For most of the previous years, leaders were expected to be bold, tireless, stalwarts dispassionate and decisive. This view has been changing and must continue to change. The current trends call for a new set of traits that in some cases are associated with felinity rather than masculinity because notions of how leadership is conducted and who is leading together with the changing world that is becoming more and more dynamic and complex.
Embracing paradox and tolerating ambiguity are key traits of modern leaders as it gives them a strategic foresight capacity. Survival in the new millennium will mean leaders have to become more courageous, adaptable creative and tenacious. To emphasize Des &Picken (2000) said that there are no ready solutions for adaptive problems. People must apply their skill and collective intelligence to the work that can only be solved by such individuals. This will mean that the individuals must abandon habits acquired over a lifetime and learn how to deal with new challenges that cannot be resolved by the existing set of skills. Des &Picken (2000) also adds that the managers must therefore develop an ability to understand conflicting values. The ability of modern leaders to collaborate by bridging diversity among people, places and ideas make them outstanding. The leaders have been able to nurture teams that lead themselves and consolidate power. Des and Picken (2000) assert that firms must greatly depend on experience, skills, judgment and knowledge of all the people in the organization in order to be competitive in the information age. The firm must learn to compete in the ever changing environment by assimilating new knowledge and encourage innovation.
Future oriented leaders comprehend that problems are complex and too big to be handled by a single individual or a minority group. The leaders also understand that opportunities are multi-faceted and too important to pursue single handedly therefore these leaders share power. The modern leaders know that even though leadership can be very powerful and effective in the short run, the powerful nature of leadership is unsustainable. People need to take initiative, develop knowledge and skills, master courage and self efficiency and other traits required by every leader in order to effectively lead themselves. One of the prime requisites of the current century is to build shared leadership. We are not saying that leadership is unnecessary; we contend that, leaders of the 21st century are judicious and understand when such conventional leadership required. They also fully understand the consequences of asserting command and authority. Mintzberg and Gosling (2002) have argued that current and future leadership have to possess five competencies for them to be effective leaders. Accordingly, Mintzberg and Gosling (2002) presented the following five competencies and trends for the current leaders.
* Be self managing: possession of interapersonal skills regarding self-understanding, self-confidence and security. This is makes a leader to align his emotional intelligence with authenticity direction.
* Manage relationships: modern leaders have to possess collaborative and interpersonal competencies that are necessary in building and sustaining relationships with different people.
* Ability to manage organisations: have usual managerial skills (both functional and analytical).
* Managing context ability: be exposed to international context and have progressive worldviews. In addition be strategic and ethical in leadership.
* Ability to manage change: this is closely related to transformational skills. This ability entails managing change at personal and organizational levels.<...
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