Whilst the basic qualities of a great leader have not changed much over the ages, the emphasis on certain qualities over others have evolved in accordance with social imperatives and cultural values. Considering the challenges facing today’s business leaders in a global knowledge-based economy, a new set of qualities is going to define the most effective leaders of tomorrow.
In today’s business environment where intellectual properties, creativity and innovation are real competitive advantage, the emphases on human interactions qualities have never been greater. As market conditions and technologies evolve at an astonishing pace, today’s organizations and future business strategies must adapt accordingly or risk of becoming irrelevant. Consequently, the leaders of the future will need to master the art of managing and leading change.
Today’s business leaders are therefore responsible for shaping the future organization, and the need for visionary leaders with superior attitude and belief, who are willing to acquire new skills and new mindset, with the ability to translate their vision into results, could not be over emphasized. Therefore, tomorrow’s leaders will need to identify and seize new possibilities created as emerging markets and new technologies take center stage in the global economy.
The future organization would require new type of leaders, a leader that is willing to give up the industrial age leadership mentality in favor of new style that’s more appropriate for the knowledge age, who is able to build successful organization with sustained superior financial performance, intense customer loyalty, inspired and motivated workforce that offer full potential and distinctive contribution in the market place.
Although vision, inspiration, communication and humility still form the core of any leader, the function of future leaders are to inspire trust amongst employees, superiors and peers alike, to develop clear purpose and clarify the goals and contribution of each team members towards such goals, to build aligned organization and processes that facilitate rather than hinder progress, to value talents and to be able to unleash the full potential of the whole workforce.
Today’s uncertainties on the regional and global levels necessitate the need for leaders to search for better ways and techniques to address and mitigate risks, as well as to identify opportunities that embodied in a dynamic environment. Leaders who are merely trying to survive, as opposed to plan for future growth, are doomed to fail, whilst successful visionary leaders adapt, innovate, harness opportunities and subsequently succeed.
In pursuit of success, a future leader is expected to draw a healthy balance between business and technology; whilst harnessing opportunity of emerging markets; finding ways to embrace and institutionalize innovation; creating a lean and quality organization; and most importantly aligning employees with business objectives.
Leaders view challenges as new opportunities in disguise and their role is to harness them and create and develop more leaders within their organization to lead in their perspective areas. For example, the need for environmental friendly or socially responsible businesses could drive organization to become more efficient and cost effective, and could attract best available talents who share its values.
As long as leaders have a clear vision, team doesn’t mind going through the challenge provided they are aware of the end result, bearing in mind that the quality of any vision depends on its appeal, how imaginative and most importantly how accurate. The biggest message a leader of the future can give his people is that of confidence and positive forward momentum, which is typically reflected in the way leaders act and behave.
Embracing the challenges associated with leadership; such as setting aspirational targets, spearheading change and inspiring the workforce, shouldn’t impact the leadership willingness and commitment to create value that contribute to all stakeholders, and the society at large. The creation of value and meaning to the lives of others can be most rewarding.
The current crisis of regional leadership could be attributed to the fact that today’s leaders are unable to acquire the required skills or develop new mind sets to deal with a knowledge-base age, and shifted away from the core leadership qualities to became hostage to short-term success; one can’t be a leader if only obsessed with short-term performance, as opposed to strategic thinking of how to improve stakeholders’ interests; including the interest of customers, employees and the society at large.
Future regional leaders are therefore expected to master change management as markets and technologies shift and advance, to identify and seize new possibilities and opportunities created in the new economy, to inspire trust and motivate others to work as teams to achieve common goals and finally to create and operate lean organizations that optimize efficiencies and address the needs of all stakeholders.