Sunday, June 10, 2012

Seven Ingredients for Future Corporate Leadership

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” ~Nelson Mandela

Leadership is generally defined as "one attempting to influence the behavior or another, for any reason". And the essence of leadership is in achievement, which has not changed and will not change. However, the world we live change significantly, and the change is accelerated: the nature of work, the needs of people, and the environment is different and will continue to evolve, leadership also walk through three stages in pursuit of maturity.

The future will become more complex: hyper-connected business working environment, interdependent global dynamic, hybrid talent pools (multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-tasking workforces)., etc. What do all these mean for the future of leadership? What are those key ingredients for the effective corporate leadership in the future?          

  1. Purpose
Leadership is there for a purpose. If the last generation of leadership focuses on winning only, then future of leadership need purpose and wisdom, more deep than loud, as an uncertain and volatile future of business needs leadership authentication & uniqueness to help business win for the long term economically, geographically, socially and philosophically.

Leadership as bridge or cornerstone needs color, multiple lens vision, and style to advance society in where all various areas of human Endeavor continue to evolve. The evolution is a quest for things to be better for Humanity. Leaders envision the better future, in their sphere of calling. Their role is then to crystallize the vision and mobilize resources towards its purposes.

2. Vision

 The purposeful leadership will drive the vision, the first task of ‘leaders as visionary designers’ involves designing the organization’s governing foundations (i.e. the purpose, vision, mission, and core values) that the organization will live by. To provide for structures on top of the foundations, leaders must translate guiding ideas into business decisions by thoughtfully crafting of an organization’s policy, strategy, and structure. 

Furthermore, we rather live in a "fuzzy vision" epoch when principles of vision (in a given moment) forming is more important than vision itself. It needs for true leaders to incorporate the creation of valuable vision in others.


  1. Trust
 This is the cornerstone of any relationship/team. Without TRUST, you will never create a positive workplace environment. With trust, leaders must then have integrity, that is,  consistency in what you think, what you say and what you act. – Walking the Talk. The leaders must have an unwavering commitment to the implementation of the plan because execution is everything. .

Trust – need for leadership interactions that enables trust –in the own resources and abilities as well in those of others, by Trust. Democratically elected Leaders have to be products of Leadership by “Trust”. This is why trust is one of the key ingredients of future corporate leadership. To cope with an uncertain future, leaders need to enable trust. Trust is the only way to deal with uncertain situations, trust can be cultivated by giving the right advice, the right guidance, the right direction.

On the Culture part, it should always be fluid, flexible & fresh, giving employees space they require to be their best & to be themselves and where Accountability, Responsibility & Transparency in the 'system' are normal.

  1. Empathy

Many think empathy as one of the necessary ingredients for contemporary leadership, empathy as - The power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings; or the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.  

From leadership perception, if you can understand how people behave, what they desire and what their fears are, you are better armed to manage them in order to gain their support. Therefore, the heterogeneous leadership is needed at today’s dynamic working environment and workforces: 

·        Underdog leadership: it's not just about gender or ethnics, it's more about how to bridge the difference, strengthen the weakest link in the leadership chains; 

·        Collective/Collaborative leadership: leadership is collective effort to inspire and amplify human capabilities, leadership team with cognizant difference can lead more solidly; 

·        Change Agent: Leaders need to walk the talk, be part the change they’d like to perceive.

  1. Learning Agile

 The future of leaders need have ability & agility to adapt to such changes, mental agility will be as important as the personality or characteristics, The primary leader will thus need to have considerable mental acuity to assimilate all the influences/changes coming from around her/him, to use this to “freshen up ideas.”  
leadershipToday business environment makes it imperative that this people do not conform to a particular set of performance , behavioral and demographical parameters. Besides the dynamic business and global environment keeps throwing a new set of situations to deal with .The management process/practice begins with the leader discovering ways to challenge current thinking, beliefs, and assumptions about important elements of the organization. The leader then encourages followers to explore different possibilities and think in new, innovative ways.

The future of leadership is multi-dimensional with entrepreneur’s mindset: being learning agile to adapt to today's over-complex business dynamic;  lies in the ability to not only navigate new waters, but also to create those waters in which the ship will be led.

  1. Humility

 The role of ‘leader as servant’ is more of a mindset than an active role, but the leader’s attitude of stewardship is a key enabler of a learning organization. Leadership in the future will be about  listening, observing, encouraging, supporting, recognizing and rewarding.

The emphasis on knowledge creates a pressure for leaders to quite possibly be "the brightest person in the room" (not always the case today!), while the need to engage and enable others emphasizes characteristics like humility and inclusiveness. These characteristics don't always sit comfortably together, that’s why the leaders also need learn how to lead from behind, with sound judgment in recognizing the best talent in the organization.

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, They will say: We did it ourselves." Lao-Tzu

7        People Engagement

 The old structure of command and control does not fit in the business environment today with the increasing demands of specialization and complexity – making with minimum consultation or due respect to interests of the major people, the 99%, the grass root class.

Modern leadership has to become more collaborative in nature empowering others while guiding the group to align with the overall business strategy. At the era of real  business democracy, people will decide you are a leader because you are taking decisions and actions with which include a part of their thought, via caring, listening, mentoring, encouraging, motivating, trusting and rewarding and you, as the leader to unify the diversify thoughts, appreciate collective wisdom, integrate diverse into a whole, doing the right thing and make right decision at the given circumstances will earn a leader respect.

There's not yet enough evidence to confirm the death of command and control, but there is the emergence of a new breed of organization that is held together by vision and inspiration rather than fear and reward; by purpose and engagement rather than short term thinking; by growth and learning than complacency and stagnation.

As Thomas Friedman says, “The 21st century is the century of the 'Super Empowered Individuals' due to the Information Age that we live in, where the only borders are a mouse click away. Super Empowered Minds', which is the new 'normalcy', modern leadership need orchestrate Co-creation, Co-operation, Co-llaboration, Co-hesion to maintain corporate sustainability and lead today's 'Super Empowered Individuals'.” 


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