There are several facets of leadership that are constant. Character and integrity are vital. You must have willing followers. You must be courageous. Those are some of the key components of effective leadership 5 years ago. They still are today and they still will be 50 years from now.
There are many things involved with the area of leadership that are changing though. In fact keeping pace as a leader has never been more difficult than it is right now. the changes have been fast and furious. These changes can be very demanding to those who are trying to lead.
Today I would like to share with you five reasons that I feel you can’t lead like you did five years ago.
The digital revolution affects all aspects of leadership.
We have seen the radical change in the music industry in this digital era. We are currently in the midst of another revolution in the print and book industry. No industry is unfazed by the digital revolution. Leadership today demands that we understand it and embrace it.
Social media is changing the landscape of leadership.
Social media is the great equalizer. No organization has an inherent communication advantage anymore. Leaders must embrace the many facets of social media or get left behind. It’s hard to believe I started with Facebook in 2006. It seems like I have been doing it for more than a decade. I have only been doing a blog for a little over a year now, but it seems like so much longer ago.
Leaders must manage information saturation.
There is no shortage of information. Leaders today have magazine subscriptions. RSS feeds to blogs, bookmarked Internet sources, and many other sources of information. We don’t have to wait for information anymore. It is instant and it is just a click away.
The challenge for leaders today is to know what to read, to whom to listen, and how often to do both. Leaders must both stay current and relevant, and they must be willing to ignore and discard. It takes wisdom to discern the helpful from the not-so-helpful.
Leaders must have a greater awareness of relational intelligence issues.
Leaders must understand and manage many different organizational and social relationships. They must deal with the soft issues of culture as well as the hard issues of numbers, products, services, and performance. Mark Fields of Ford Motor Company was on target and prophetic when he said “culture eats strategy for breakfast” back in 2006. Now more than ever, leaders must understand relational and cultural issues, including a frank assessment of the person looking back at them in the mirror.
Strategic thinking is more important than ever.
Culture may eat strategy for breakfast, but strategy is still vital. Leaders of organizations and leaders in organizations must anticipate the future with wisdom and discernment. The world is changing so rapidly that a leader can no longer have the luxury of simply carrying out assignments. He or she must anticipate and take risks. No organization that is standing still will be effective five years from now.
Obviously, these five factors are not mutually exclusive, nor are they comprehensive.
It is clear, however, that we must constantly be growing as a leader or we will not be effective leaders in the years to come. Though the challenges are great, those challenges can lead to exciting and rewarding times.
How has leadership changed for you in the past five years or so? What changes have you made to be a better leader to meet these new challenges?
The simple fact is that if we are going to embrace leadership, we have to embrace change. Our ability to change with the changing times will dictate the types of leaders we will be moving forward. Don’t fall behind!