Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Is Leadership Really in Crisis?
If you’re a regular on social media, especially LinkedIn, I’m sure you have noticed the exponential increase in the number of articles, posts, and promotions about Leadership.
From online courses and coaching to guidance and friendly advice, everyone has something to offer on the subject. Suddenly, it looks like Leadership is emerging as a new concept, new philosophy, or a new management tool. A quick fix to every challenge of the New World (ThePandemicWorld).
It’s almost as though the entire world has been emptied of Leaders (social, economic, business, and political), and needs to relearn the basic principles of Leadership.
Is this real, a reaction to the happenings around, or just a temporary phenomenon?
Has the world become devoid of all the knowledge, wisdom, and culture of Leadership?
Have there been some breakthroughs in Leadership concepts and theories, hitherto unknown to the world?
Is Leadership really in crisis?
Anyone who is in the position of a Leader or wants to get there largely knows that Leadership means influencing the behaviour of others through interpersonal skills to direct them towards the achievement of a goal (s) of the team/organisation.
The three most important parts of Leadership are Interpersonal, Influence, and Goal(s).
Interpersonal means ‘between persons’. Thus, a leader has more than one person (group) to lead.
Influence is the power to affect others’ thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
The goal is the result one strives to attain.
Since influencing and goal-achievement are dynamic processes, Leadership can also be called a dynamic relationship.
A leader is expected to have and demonstrate multidimensional traits such as:
Vision and foresight
Sense of responsibility
Self-confidence and willpower
Humility and Empathy
Asking for all of the above qualities to be present in a leader could be far-fetched. However, this doesn’t undermine the significance of each of these qualities in making a good leader. It just means there’s room for improvement in every Leader.
In my opinion, what makes Leadership look so challenging or Leaders so invisible during the testing times is critical and expected, but often ignored aspects of Leadership is the Ethics.
An effective leader consistently practices and demonstrates the ethics of:
In the current environment and context, what seems even more difficult is finding an Inspirational Leader. Many people holding influential positions that I encounter as part of my work or even on social media as a consumer come across as insecure. They act to protect and uplift themselves rather than those they are responsible to lead.
But what does it mean to be an Inspirational Leader? It is to create a culture of collaboration, empowerment, encouragement, and involvement in decision-making and developing high-performance leaders/teams.
Collaboration A collaborative culture fosters trust in others, encourages maximum interaction, and exchanges ideas to nurture a sense of togetherness, interdependence, and mutuality.
Empowerment Empowering people for Performance Excellence means giving people the freedom to participate and to implement decisions that promote a sense of ownership.
Developing high-performance Leaders/Teams means Leaders building Leaders. Having the willingness and ability to transform followers into leaders by making them accountable individually. Allowing them to exercise control over circumstances and decisions. Giving them the necessary support and expressing confidence in them for taking charge of various responsibilities.
The real test of Leadership occurs during tumultuous times when there is scope and need for change as well as the possibility of disasters happening that result in chaos and insecurity among the followers. A true leader's mark is managing this change in an orderly and structured manner to prevent disasters from ensuing.
So, in terms of knowledge, wisdom, and self-awareness, Leadership doesn’t seem to be in crisis.
Most leaders understand what is expected of them, or at least what the definition of leadership is. Unfortunately, being aware of that fact isn’t nearly enough. Sharing inspirational quotes and posters on social media isn’t nearly enough. The real crisis we are facing as a society is a distinct lack of Leaders with ethics, courage, humility, trust, and respect.
For every post offering advice about how to be a good leader, there are a dozen posts by employees about how their manager or boss treats them with disrespect or without the basic courtesy of seeing them as a human being first and subordinate second. For every client in a leadership position who approaches me to coach their employees to develop better accountability and time management, there are five clients whose right to work-life balance has been chipped away by their employer.
Therefore, the real crisis is our Leaders’ ability to walk the walk after talking the talk all over LinkedIn and Facebook.
In conclusion, can we say that it is not the concept of Leadership that is in crisis, but the practice of Leadership with Ethics, Courage, Humility, Trust and Respect?
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