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21st Century Leadership – 10 Truths You Must Face

This month’s Gifted Leaders e-Newsletter features a blog post by Jesse Lyn Stoner from the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership. To successfully face today’s challenges, leaders need to pay attention to ten provocative truths.

Highlights from the Article

You might get away with ignoring these truths for the short term. You can rally people with charisma and/or through fear for the short term. But if you care about the long term, leaders need to know how to deal with these ten truths:

  1. You can’t go back. Instead of trying to go back, go forward. Articulate an inclusive vision of a positive future that resonates throughout your entire organization.

  2. You are not in control. You cannot dictate what will happen. You may be able to get compliance through imposing your authority, but you will not get people’s commitment or full engagement.

  3. Your people are not your people. Your role is not to manage people, but to bring them together to engage in dialogue around mutual concerns, to help them develop the skills they need, to provide feedback, to remove roadblocks, and to provide resources that enable them to do their work.

  4. Everything you say and do is now public knowledge, or will be soon. Values-driven leadership is essential. Your character is your most precious asset, so behave as if everything you do will become public knowledge.

  5. If everyone on your team is the same, you need a new team. The diverse perspectives that others bring make discussions richer, more robust, and more relevant. Conflict and disagreement, when focused on the issues (not on personality), serve to produce creative new ideas, approaches, and solutions.

  6. Your questions are more important than your answers. Good leaders don’t just provide answers, they ask really good questions. Asking questions that increase possibilities stimulate creativity and help people find their own solutions.

  7. Your competitive advantage lies in your ability to collaborate. You have a choice: compete for market share or expand the market. Power in the 21st century is about making alliances, not coming out on top.

  8. Your footprint matters. The world is too interconnected now to take an isolationist stance or to be unconcerned with the well-being of the environment that hosts your organization.

  9. You are better off in the matrix than the pyramid. Hierarchical structures create boundaries that impede work. They also do not produce good leadership. Hierarchical systems replicate parent-child relationships which create dependency and low employee engagement.

  10. Your strategic plan is useless. Instead of strategic planning, with planning and execution as separate steps, approach it as an iterative process. Do both at the same time. Think of it as building the vehicle while you are driving it.

Read the article here.

The Gifted Perspective

We appreciate this blog post for two reasons:

  1. It clearly makes a case for moving from hierarchical organizational structures, with all their inherent liabilities, to more collaborative or network-based forms of organizing where leadership emerges from within the organization, not just from the top.

  2. Stoner’s 10 Truths are very compatible with our own thoughts on the mindset required for 21st century leadership.

It’s time to redefine leadership as a collective capacity, redesign organizations as networks, not hierarchies, and revitalize workplaces with humanity and purpose!

We’d love to assist you in accelerating your shift to innovative leadership and inspired workplaces! Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!

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