In this article we will know about why leadership development is more critical and also necessary today more than ever. We will also know about how it works and what its benefits are.
The recent spate of massive layoffs against the backdrop of diminishing market valuations of many global tech giants goes a long way in endorsing what I have been advocating for the last five years; “going forward, continuous adjustments to sudden disruptive changes, competitive threats, rapidly changing markets and the accelerating pace of change will be the new norm and not the exception.”
For organizations to come to terms with surviving and remaining relevant and resourceful in such a volatile economic environment calls for leadership development that enables the organization to transform into an agile, adaptive, and innovative one. Leadership development helps develop a leadership culture that is change-tolerant, chaos friendly, and supports the unique needs of different situations, from traditional to extreme.
For organizations, in a contemporary context, leadership development is all about identifying and developing the next generation of leaders who can deal with the most significant challenges with relentless action-oriented energy and strengthen the organization and generate social and economic value.
The success of any leadership development program will be a direct consequence of the organization’s ability to forge LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT models that will link the knowledge, skills, and concepts relevant to the leadership competencies of the 21st century to the practice of Leadership within the actual work organizations.
It is very important to have leaders who can adapt to the new changes happening everyday worldwide and that will contribute value to the organization.
The human race has seen continued evolution from hunters and food gatherers to agricultural economies, from industrial, informatic, to digital societies. In every era, humankind has attempted to improve and adapt management and leadership styles to best suit the needs of the time and the prevailing social, political, or economic environment.
The earliest understanding of Leadership is its traditional influence and motivation in organizational change; there is a fine line between management and Leadership, and both roles are complementary.
Gradually, Leadership became understood as being strongly associated with a change in uncertain situations in the context of environmental complexity and further became intertwined with cultural change, communication, persuasion, dealing with problems, etc.
The prominence of individual leaders brought forth the notion of Leadership, characterized by the competency approach highlighting skills or attributes common to successful leaders. Subsequently, the contextual/situational dimension of Leadership gained momentum rather than an invariant set of attitudes and abilities, culminating with Leadership has reinvented as a complex adaptive process.
Then came further developments that examined aspects critical to understanding the functions of leaders; the relationship between language, thought, and meaning, cognitive aspects of leadership behavior, mindfulness, flexibility, intellectual humility, and emotional intelligence being essential elements in Leadership.
However, as I look back upon my leadership experience, I realize that my role as a leader in every organization has been highly varied and different, highly situational, relevant to the challenges of the times when they came into play, and therefore have been evolving over periods.
For today’s high-speed, change-driven business organizations, the world of traditional Leadership belongs to the past. The paradigm must shift. Any organization that doesn’t make that shift will be lost in the turbulence, considering the realities of today’s business environment where ADAPTABILITY, AGILITY, AND INNOVATIVENESS are imperatives for sustenance.
The world of traditional Leadership, a discipline born out of the worldview based on determinism and reductionism, is a paradigm that says you can dissect business operations into a predictable set of cause-and-effect relationships among the parts. It’s the left brain, linear, logical thinking at its best. It’s analytical. This mechanistic view has led to the conclusion that we can confidently plan.
On the other side is the right brain, which works nonlinearly. Its process is relational and random and solves problems using systems thinking. In the land of extreme chaos, the plan is not necessarily a prediction or the outcome; it obeys the laws of self-organizing systems and chaos theory.
Many businesses have only recently realized the pain of not having a leadership development process in place and are struggling to adopt the traditional practices in the volatile environment without realizing the futility of the whole exercise; It’s time to awaken to the realities of today’s business environment and discover the way to survive and thrive under the new circumstances.
A new mindset, based on the reality that change is the norm needed to succeed under such extreme circumstances.
A mindset that enables its practitioners to keep business operations under control in the face of volatility while providing value to the outcomes each step of the way. Leadership competencies comprise principles, values, skills, tools, and practices compatible with change and uncertainty and form the soft and the hard glue of Contemporary Leadership.
The circular economy works on three principles: regenerative design, waste prevention, and resource efficiency, which can help create a more sustainable and equitable economy by reducing waste, maximizing resource value, and minimizing environmental impact.
Related Article: 8 Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
Given today’s economic and business environment, the bitter truth is that we are operating in a bewildering new environment in which little is certain, the tempo is quicker, and the dynamics are more complex.
Apart from grappling with today’s business environment in its unique ways, the critical worry of leaders today is how to stay on top of all the things they need to know to do their job.
From a fundamental perspective, I envisage Leadership in the 21st century as the ability to gain and sustain the commitment of others, unleash motivation and innovation, establish the trust and confidence to succeed, and ensure that customers receive value each step of the way.
However, what is emerging as a common denominator is coming to an understanding of the leadership challenges of the current volatile, globalized, and hyper-connected environment and what it means to lead in an age of upheaval, to master personal challenges, to make decisions under extreme uncertainty and addressing the need for nurturing leaders of tomorrow.
Nothing is further from the truth that today’s leaders face extraordinary new challenges and must learn to think differently about their role and how to fulfill it.
Consequently, we see budding leaders eager to acquire latent knowledge and skills that will help them advance their careers.
The most critical learning I have gotten from my experience of 39 years is that leadership success is but a fleeting incident and that all the knowledge and skills that may have rendered successful Leadership in the present times cannot pre-empt a future leadership failure.
This brings home the point that an essential part of future leadership development must be learning and understanding what can pre-empt and combat future leadership failures.
One of the most critical leadership challenges of the 21st century is coming to a proper understanding of leadership competencies relevant to success.
Often Corporate leaders are expected to
Such expectations are going to put demands on Leadership as never seen before. It will require leaders to accept the realities of today’s chaotic and volatile environment and the need for a new mindset that presupposes chaos and volatility are the norms, not exceptions.
Constantly changing requirements, rapidly evolving technologies, and a rapidly changing competitive landscape will further require Leadership to be
Whatever way we look at it, I see Leadership in the 21st century as being a high-speed and very complex process that initiates interactions among different people seeking desirable outcomes under conditions of
And such a process then necessitates the replacement of the traditional leadership traits of predictability, command, and control with uncertainty, improvisation, and spontaneity.
For more than a decade, I have been conversing with prominent business and organizational leaders on 21st-century Leadership, and what has emerged as the most critical corporate challenge is the insufficiency of resources, both academic and institutional, to churn out dynamic leaders with advanced capacities who can adaptively lead self, others and the organization through multiple levels of complexities for achieving desired outcomes for self, others and the organization under conditions of high turbulence, chaos, and volatility.
Such a scenario then renders individuals to their own devices to acquire skills and knowledge for dealing with the leadership challenges of the 21st century.
It is this very tendency that can prove fatal for the simple reason that corporate Leadership in the 21st century is altogether a different beast that requires very different and latent skills to master.
More than anything, leaders need to acknowledge that surviving in a highly tumultuous environment is not freedom from the storm but finding peace amidst the storm. That requires self-mastery of the highest level, an ongoing practice of leading oneself under everyday adverse conditions.
It follows that as a leader, one can’t stabilize the world, but only oneself, which is the only hope.
The 21st century organizations need leaders who can adapt change fastly and can develop different such skill sets.
The corporate world has changed and bears minimal resemblance to what it was at the beginning of the century. The ever-changing pace of technological advancements has caused the creation of a hyper-competitive global business environment that brings with it everyday disruptions.
What has stayed the same is the fundamental role of corporate Leadership in driving organizational success.
By all measures, a corporate leader must have a vision, mission, goals, and the ability and competencies to translate the vision & mission into tangible business success while displaying integrity, transparency, and honesty.
In the stable business environment of the past, it was relatively easy for organizations to develop leaders for the future because it was known to organizations where their future leaders would come from, and the leadership skills set necessary for driving successful corporate Leadership.
Today’s business environment is the globalization of technological developments, markets, and economies, with the pace of technological advancement being the prime driver of all commercial activities and businesses.
Against a backdrop of an ever-changing economic, social, and political landscape, not only will it be difficult for businesses to identify where their future leaders will come from, but they also have to deal with the fact that the pace of commercial and technological advancement will make it challenging to come to an understanding of what effective Leadership in the 21st century will look like and what are the critical and essential leadership skills required for delivering success as a corporate leader.
Previously it was very easy for organizations to identify future leaders but now it have became more tough because of daily changing environment.
Leadership may be simple, but it is not easy, and it is best to learn by experiencing it. One must have the minimum necessary experience to be a successful corporate leader. Still, one can start early and prepare for a leadership role through experiential learning, i.e., personalized coaching and mentoring.
The very fact of today’s economic environment is that we live in a volatile environment where businesses are driven more by opportunity than by any other marketing wisdom.
What is very simple and basic is that we are witnessing an industrial revolution happening right now; it is just unstoppable and is changing how we think, work, and live.
For businesses to be sustainable, relevant, and resourceful in everyday chaos and uncertainty, organizations must learn agility, adaptability, and innovativeness, which one can achieve through a massive change entailing 360 degrees of transformation.
With this objective, I focus on developing leaders of tomorrow by imparting experiential training and coaching in skills relevant to enable leaders, organizations, and executives to be future-ready, keeping in mind the following elements that characterize the turbulent and rapidly changing environment in which we operate;
I differentiate my leadership development coaching with a focused and defined curriculum that enables leadership success by facilitating:
Different things like mindset, principles, cultures etc are required to make a leader for the future through leadership development.
Apart from the fundamental objective of transforming the organization into an agile, adaptive, innovative, change-tolerant, chaos friendly, and flexible one, the broader benefits resulting from a very well-executed leadership development program are as follows;
A leadership program can not only help in sustaining the business but also in different areas like innovation, cooperation, decision making agility and others.
Whatever the future, one thing is sure: the disruption accompanying such accelerating technological advancements will impact organizations, large and small businesses, institutions, and individuals.
While some companies may see the change coming as obvious and prepare themselves for the accompanying opportunities, others may need more time to deal with it.
The intensification of the fourth industrial revolution has just started to gain momentum, which is where lies the early bird advantage for the youth of the present day to undergo leadership development today and prepare themselves for the leadership roles of tomorrow.
Jammu is an ex – c-suite executive, a thought leader, passionate about
learning and sharing, with an insatiable appetite for helping individuals,
institutions and organizations pursue “EXCELLENCE” – be the best they
possibly can by the means of coaching, training & consulting.
As a professional trainer & coach he coaches leaders, entrepreneurs and
executives to help them build their physical resilience, accelerate their
professional & business growth and make an extra ordinary impact.