Research, evaluate and critically analyze the skills needed in the leader of the future, in terms of their approach to both the emotional and functional needs of themselves, their teams and the organization.
What recommendations would you make for the development of these leaders?
All contemporary organizations seem to be in a competitive frenzy to show that they all are really engaged in developing leadership pools for the highly competent and ever hanging future , where the subject leadership and the word leader seem to have a greater importance compared to the past. Thorough research in this field shows clear evidence in the dramatic increase in the number of journals on future leadership, leader qualities and leadership development. Moreover, huge number of leadership development and training activities seem to have become essential parts of growing organizations and leadership training centers all over the world (Storey, 2004).
On the basis of aforementioned scenario, this essay evaluates the skills needed for future leaders. In the beginning of the essay, before analyzing the skills, reasons for the need of new skills in the future is evaluated and this gives an insight for analyzing the future skills. Errors of past and present leaders are used to give a clear path for helping the research on future skills. In the following part, critical analysis will be done on the functional and emotional skills needed for future leaders. Behavioral needs of leaders will be evaluated with respect to themselves, followers and organization. In the end, proper recommendations are given for the development of future leaders, based on the leadership development programme of esteemed organizations.
Considerable changes took pace in organizations in the past few years. Macro-economic forces are in operation and this will persist in the coming years too. Strong pressure is being mound on organizations for reducing costs, re- structuring, increasing quality of their products, downsizing and
mergers. Many organizations are in search of new realms of operations and new alchemies of success. (Kotter, 1996). Analysis of errors which were found in the past organizations and their leaders provide an insight into the corrections needed in the future and competencies for leaders of future.
One major error found in the past was too much complacency .The more leaders reduce it the more they will become efficient. Another issue seemed was the failure in developing a good team. Many of the organizations depend on the one man leading structure which is a rather old concept and proved to be unsuccessful in the modern changing situations. Moreover, many leaders in the past failed to understand the power of vision and under communicated the same to followers.
Furthermore, many leaders failed in creating short tem goals and managing them. Similarly many were too hurried to declare victory which provides a false notion among team members that the job is done while it is on the half way .Resistance to change was another failure in the past, which prevented many organizations from going on a global level.
Future organizations demand better communication, speed ,better transportation , networking of information, people and power .To cope with the swift changes in the global environment, almost all organizations of this century are striving hard and putting their complete efforts in managing and leading it in an efficient and successful way. So ,future leaders need new skills and competencies to meet the demands of ever-changing world. In the twentieth century world, organizations and leaders relied on a rather sedentary notion of fi things when they are broken .But now new globalized economy puts forward more hazards and situations for all to make dramatic improvements in their skills, co- potencies and behavior in order to lead their organization in a successful and convincing manner. On the basis of above said factors, this essay critically analyses functional and emotional needs of future leaders.
According to Kotter (1996) ,a skilled future leader should be non burocratic with reduced internal dependence and well aware of performance information systems. He will distribute performance data widely and will give training and support systems to many people. He should be interested in life long learning so that he can easily get adapted to the changes in the team and the path in which he is leading his team. His willingness and ability to keep developing is important factor in his success and ultimately, the success of his team. He should be able to push out from the comfort zones and must be daring enough to take risks in challenging situations in his journey. As a whole, a good listener who is willing to accept ideas and opinions from his team members will become successful in future organizations.
White, Hodgson and Crainer (1996) give a better analysis of future leadership skills and behavior and identify five contrasting functional skills. First of all, future leaders have to keep a balance between contrasting requirements of his team members and at the same time may have to support change, creativity and innovation seen in the team and organization. The one and only one key tool to tackle such situation is learning, especially learning those important things which are hard for his followers or his organization. This keeps him different from the team and at the same time with the team.
Secondly, ability to handle ambiguous situations is important in the future. Such leaders will have easy access to high range of energy both in themselves and others. Thirdly, those leaders who show the ability to perceive the theme or a scenario in periods of rapid change, calamities and severe complexity, will succeed in delivering the vision and message to the team and organization.
Next is a bit contrasting but important skill, keeping a balance between long term vision and short term objectives of his organization and nurturing his team for doing the same. Finally, a leader should be able to lead his team with his inner sense or intuitive judgment in situations where no data or information or rather guideline is available for leading his organization.
An improved and thorough picture of functional behavioral needs of a leader can be understood from the work of Metcalfe and Metcalfe (1999).They describes the skills for future leaders with respect to themselves their team and organization. As far as leaders are apprehensive they should be ingenuous and consistent in behavior and more concerned with the success and achievement of the organization rather than personal achievement. That means he should be a see-through person. Moreover, he should be open to criticism and have to allow participation of others in decision making. In addition to that, decisiveness is important, especially in intricate situations .He should be charismatic and exceptional communicator who can really inspire others and capable of solving a wide range of problems.
Considering leaders behavior to team members, a future leader should show genuine interest in his team .He should value their contributions and have to strengthen and develop them through coaching. In this way he will be able to increase the potential of his team and can make them take part in the decision making and task sharing. So the more approachable a leader is to his followers ,the sooner the team reaches its vision .In the case of organization ,a leader have to function as a link between different parts of the organization by Communicating it’s vision and maintaining the stability of situations by sudden changes and actions.
A contrasting big picture is available from the research of council for excellence in management and leadership, where they put forward the leadership skills of future leaders as Meta capabilities. First met capability is called big picture sense making .This is the ability of a leader to interpret the threats and opportunities for the organization in order to assess the positives and negatives of it to construct a clear vision for the future. Second capability is delivering a change. How far he finds support and motivates his team and makes the organization adaptable to the change is important and the methods he adopts for that are critical in his skill. Above all he should be capable to work as an ambassador for the team where he should work in networks and build coalition.
As far as future business leadership is concerned, Goldsmith and Walt (2004) illustrate some key skills, which all leaders should be aware of for future organizational success. First of all is thinking and understanding global scenarios of economic, cultural and political changes. Leading global product markets and team is key to success in future. Next skill is, understanding new technology like modern software and computer programme which are quite important in the modern technical world.
Another key skill is the ability to appreciate cultural diversity.Understanding even minute details of religion, race, culture, sex and meanings of even simple things like greetings ,gifts and celebrations are quite important in leading multicultural groups.
Being technologically updated and informed makes modern leaders one step ahead of others. It is not only for the individual performance but also for the performance of the organization. Organizations having technologically savvy leaders will obviously have added advantage in the future. Technological savvy means they have to understand proper use of modern technology and at the same time should recruit train and maintain a chain of such people in his team. Moreover he should know how to make investments in latest technology and have to be role models for the team. As we have seen before they also see the importance for shared leadership. As far as a business is concerned role of suppliers or customers and partners were quite clear in the past and we know who are the enemies and with whom we have to make alliances. But the picture will be different in the future.So future leaders need to have the ability to negotiate alliances and have to manage networks of alliances also.
Although we have analyzed many functional skills and behavior patterns for future leaders, new theories of leadership concentrate more on rather new concept of emotional skills or competencies. This is the part where the interesting term emotional intelligence plays its role. It can be called emotional competence or emotional quotient, which is one’s ability in understanding and controlling his own feelings or emotions and those of others .This is most important in crisis situations or stress-full situations, which will be most common in the future. For example, in a business firm, in situations like loss of contract or indifferent or irresponsible behavior of team members or a financial crisis, and like many similar situations, emotional skills play major role than functional ones. (Riggio and Lee, 2007)
Liberty (2006) describes core emotional skills for leaders in his report ‘The Changing Nature of Leadership’ by the future. It describes many core emotional skills such as emotional awareness, accepting follower’s emotions, emotional reasoning, controlling and managing own emotions and of others, emotional self- control and Communicating Emotions .Almost similar emotional skills have been stated by Christopher & Philip (1997). According to them some of the most vital emotional skills are self awareness, management of feelings, self motivation, emotional people management skills and mastery of ego.
In the future, as we have seen in the beginning, organizational world would be highly competitive in nature. All organizations would be under huge pressure to increase productivity to compete with the multinational and transnational companies. So future leaders should be capable of motivating the followers in stressful situations like downsizing and restructuring. Nowadays, business organizations have a trend going towards a new scenario where future will see all organizations maintaining rather small full time working class with more chances for part timers .(Burt, 2000) Such situations will have outcomes like employee dis- satisfaction, emotional out breaks and desperate work force. Future leaders have to handle such situations with great deal of emotional intelligence and flexibility. (Rees, 1991).
According to Goleman, Mayor and Salovey (1995) emotional intelligence helps in leadership effectiveness in multiple ways .It can guide leaders to solve difficult issues.Decision making and time management become more effective. Goleman, Boyatiz and Mckee (2004) analyses core emotional competencies of leaders in their literature of primal leadership and that is the ultimate information where we could find all sorts of skills and its description for effective future leaders. They describes that competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management are key factors to develop.
A leader have to be well aware of the important relation between emotions and their performance and have to be able to have an open mind towards revealing these to others so that it will go in a synchrony with team members and organization itself. When he knows his emotional strengths and weaknesses, it become quite easy for him to manage or control himself in difficult emotional situations like criticism or recession. This not only it helps him to improve his performance but also boosts his self- confidence and makes him standout in the group. He have to remain calm and controlled in difficult situations through proper self control and have to be transparent to his followers and organization. Moreover, optimism is the important emotional skill, which helps him find opportunity even under threat-full situations.
In addition to above said skills , Goleman and team illustrates some more factors which is important with respect to team and organization such as leader’s social and organizational awareness. This means extend of his empathy by which he feels and understand the emotional levels and changes of followers and how well he get along with that. Inspiring and influencing people, changing them through emotional influence and management etc are other skills.Another important emotional need is service mentality. The more service oriented a leader is the more close his followers will be. Such he maintains emotional climate with followers. So, in general, it is easy to say in this modern world, that good leaders lead with heart and mind
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEADER DEVELOPMENT
Having analyzed functional and emotional skills for future leaders, it is worth finding out the ways to develop such highly skilled super-humans. Old methods of leadership training were of teacher student interaction type. But best method in leadership development is learning from self and others where leaders have to develop a conductive learning environment (Garrat,1990).Rather than a usual learning process there need to be a psychological learning contract between leaders and followers through which they exchange ,develop and maintain different skills (schein,1992).
Organizations have to move away from older methods and have to learn from new models such as metaphorical approach. This is the learning through art and music, through which it is easy to explore aesthetic and emotional dimensions of leaders. In such a way development of self awareness, motivation, communication, attitudes towards change and crisis and many other future leader skills are easy to be taught. Use of image theatres for leader training is a good example for that (Ferris, 2002).
It is always advisable to analyze and follow leadership development technique and tools used by successful organizations and follow the same in similar contexts. Many organizations have corporate universities s in which they mentor leaders for their future. Such institutions carry our continuous research and development programme on leadership and create new tools. If we look for it in organizations like Barclays or Shell group, they do regular coaching for their workforce through which they learn and develop into leaders. Modern learning environments like electronic and blended learning are used along with networked work force communities, academic advisors and business school partnerships. (Patron, Taylor and Storey, 2004)
Use of technology is important in developing leaders of future. Web casting, blogging, e- learning, simulated trainings etc are to be used by all organizations for effective leader development. All these help in effective two way communication and learning in a limited time and space. A recent invention in leadership development is 360 degree feed back method. Organizations make leadership questionnaires and through its feed back and by making action learning sets, leaders and followers make a mutual alignment through which they learn and develop new skills. This is highly recommended in any organization. With the help of Modern technology it can be used quite effectively in leader developments. (Metcalfe, 1998)
In a nutshell, future leadership skills can be concluded in Tom Peter’s style.
Leaders of future do not transform but create a context where transformation can take place. They will say ‘I don’t know’ which means you, the followers, have to figure it out. They will not be the best performers in a team but will be the best coordinators of performers. They will develop talent and vision. They will thrive on paradox and will get the best out of mess. They will do even if they don’t know how to do it but when needed they wait for the best opportunity to act. Future leaders will be optimistic and angry even sometimes anti organizational people, especially in crisis management, who honor rebels and break down barriers. They will be talent fanatics with a will to forget unwanted things and always ready to learn and change. So, it is advisable to recruit and train generation ‘Y’ managers(New generation people with future leadership traits,born after 1978) to become excellent leaders of the future. (Mc Leod, 2008).
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