How is a leader in the 21st century?
Times are changing, companies are changing and the idea of the kind of professional that we need at work is changing as well. It is only normal then, that the concept of the leader has evolved too and the distant big boss locked in his high office looking down to the employees is no longer the ideal leader anymore.
Leaders today are not totalitarian individuals, there is no way in the modern world that we can have one single person managing the whole company, since everything moves really fast and how global any business is today. That is why, all the areas to manage have to be broken down in different roles that will lead those specific areas.
Therefore the leader has now become a figure that is the head of other leaders, the pyramid has broken down in management roles that should work with, communicate and inspire the members of each team.
Today the communication amongst the different levels of the company cannot work as it used to: just one direction, from top to bottom. The communication has to go both ways and be fluent and easy in order to keep up with every area and cover the needs of the company.
So therefore, the key for a great leadership on the 21st century is to delegate. Find the right people that you can, not only trust, but understand each other perfectly, so you know that you can put that weight of the company on the right person and trust that you will be reached at the right time, for the right reasons, in order to guarantee the success your company is striving for.
Also, and directly related to the idea of delegating the work, is the need of a structure and system that everyone understands and follows, so each manager and leader of the specific areas will be able to both, receive and communicate the right information on time and report each change and news to the leader so an strategy can be designed together to tackle down any possible problem or opportunity.
Good leaders today also know their people, and can identify those that are worth to invest on, as a way to find the right future leaders for each area to create that structure that will surround and support their role.
It is equally important for new leaders, to overcome the old idea of the self-centered high ego leader that is in the top of a pyramid and always in secret fear of having someone breathing on their neck and threatening their position. The 21st century leader knows that the key to success is to surround him or her self by the best professionals that will push the company forward.
Bare in mind then that this means that the classic pyramid structure with the big boss on the top changes, as the responsibilities are delegated, the structure becomes much flatter and therefore the figure of power is not deistic anymore.
This also means that the new leader figure can not be a selfish person, but someone willing not only to share responsibilities, but also the glory of each success. Must be approachable, relatable and also strong minded and confident to know when is the right time to make a difficult decision that might seem full of risk.
This new concept of leadership is what many big “old” companies are struggling with. It is becoming obvious that the old format slows down the company and doesn’t motivate the employers, which as a result means a lower productivity for the company.
This is why more and more, companies are switching to new structures, opening options and searching for professionals instead of workers that can be trusted to make decisions and manage small areas.
As professionals we will soon recognize the new leader style companies as soon as in the interview, where we will be able to learn more about the culture established, the communication system and the opportunities of growth, look at the structure in LinkedIn and find out information about the path of employees during the time in the company, and if you see signs of an old pyramid-like structure, move on to the next opportunity.