Defining Leadership in Today’s World

Leadership in today’s world requires new leadership values. No longer is a leader simply a person who can make a good and inspiring speech. Today, a leader faces challenges of huge political, economic and environmental proportions. A leader should have the ability to convince followers (and others) to change destructive habits, be good communicators and focus more on the participation of women in leadership roles.

While in the past, civilizations have faced war and threats from beyond a country’s borders – today, we face more threats from within. Habits and focus need to be changed to reflect those threats and leaders should have the conviction and morals to convince and advocate positive change.

Convincing people to make positive changes such as changing our habits to better sustain the earth on which we live is the job of the true leader. Recognizing leadership skills in ourselves and others should be studied and followers should choose or elect leaders in their lives who reflect their same moral values.

Reducing poverty is another challenge for today’s leaders. There are speeches made, but few so-called leaders have set forth a plan to help this plight on our landscape. Just as in business endeavors – small goals must be set and reached so that the big vision can be realized.

With our ability to find facts and figures with a click of a mouse, people can be informed about the problems and challenges facing all of us in today’s world and elect and choose leaders who advocate positive change.

The importance of listening

Leaders today must also listen to and hear everyone’s input and solutions – including our youth and our seniors – that may have fresh views or answers they’ve reached by years of experience.

Dennis Meadows, Professor Emeritus and Director, Institute for Policy and Social Science at the University of New Hampshire, U.S., recently stated at a forum, “We need leadership in the next decade and we’ll find it. If you want to be a great leader, don’t imagine you’re going to find a way that makes everybody happy.”

That’s an important factor to consider when contemplating leadership in today’s world. What is decided and put into action may not please everyone, but as long as we’re moving toward positive change in a helpful, rather than destructive, way, people should maintain an open mind.

Leadership in today’s world should consist of an approach which is open and transparent and goals and visions should be communicated fast and effectively so that everyone has time to think about how they fit in to the changes which are going to be made.

Styles and challenges of leaders are going to change drastically in the coming years and the results will hopefully be positive and ensure a stronger and better future.

What is Your Leadership Style?

Knowing your leadership style can help you in many areas of your life and career choices. Styles of leadership differ from person to person and involve your style of implementing strategies, how you motivate others and how you provide direction to followers. Some styles of leadership to study are:

1. Paternalistic – As you might have guessed, the paternalistic style of leadership is becoming a “father figure” for your followers – whether family or work-oriented. The paternalistic style of leadership promotes trust and loyalty and followers tend to become committed to the person.
2. Laissez-faire – A leadership style where the rule of thumb is “hands off.” This leader lets the workers and subordinates make all the decisions and only offer support when it’s requested. The Laissez-faire worker/leader relationship may be effective in certain cases – such as in an environment where the workers are very skilled and/or educated and where the followers can be trusted.
3. Authoritarian – Strictness is the style of this type of leader. They may micromanage because they prefer to keep close control over their followers. Policies and procedures are the main emphasis of the Authoritarian leadership style and the focus is on efficiency.
4. Democratic – Decision making is shared with followers in this type of leadership style. Promoting the desires and needs of group members is paramount and the leader believes that everyone should play a part in every decision made.
5. Transformational – This type of leader has the objective of transforming his or her followers. These leaders may be very charismatic (such as evangelists or political leaders) and meet challenges with excitement and a clear purpose. They’re great communicators and may often be found in top roles of leadership.
6. Transactional – The focus of this leadership style is on motivating through rewards or forms of punishment. These leaders recognize good performances and may provide material or psychological rewards for effort. They may also use corrective intervention if they feel that a worker’s performance isn’t up to par. Transactional leaders are good at enforcing rules and laws.

When you know your style of leadership, you can better have a vision of the work you may be suited for. If you decide you’re a “laissez-faire” type of leader, you likely wouldn’t be happy in a career suited for an authoritarian style.

Knowing your leadership style is especially helpful if you’re considering making a career change or taking courses which put you on a certain career path. Get to know the various leadership styles before you make a crucial life-decision.

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