21st century leadership skills


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21st century leadership skills

  1. 1. 21st Century Leadership Skills - DefinedJanuary 14, 2008 by Jeff BrunsonA 21st Century Leader understands that if you want engaged employees, you must develop the individual.It is this understanding that leads the 21st Century Leader to a focus on self. Not a selfish focus - but a focus on selffor the benefit of others.The Brunson Level II Coaching Program and the Brunson Leadership Development Program for Groups focuson the following key skills for Leadership effectiveness and organizational impact:7 Skills for Leadership ConfidencePersonal/Professional Growth Management SkillsPersonal study and professional application is a must for you as a Leader in the 21st Century. How well you selfassess and act on that assessment determines the quality of the goals you set and the effectiveness of your actionplans. The impact you deliver is dependent upon how you integrate Leadership behaviors and implement on yourstrategies.Communication and Connection SkillsHow skillful a Leader communicates is a major factor of credibility. You must consistently communicate well one-on-one and in group settings. As Leaders, it is imperative that our communication is consistent and credible. Wemust be able to consistently create safety for dialogue and confidently confront issues. You approach performancemanagement and succession management as key areas for consistent communication.Messaging SkillsYou are the message. Your Brand is the succinct version of that message. It takes constant awareness for you tobuild Brand awareness and representation. Your Desire & Intent as a Leader is very important to those you lead. It iscritical to your success, and the success of others, that you are skillful in creating and articulating a clear vision. The21st Century Leader is also becoming skilled at using the concepts of Story in communication, connection, andmessage.Networking SkillsYou must network. Your time networking should be intentional activities around career connections and collegialsupport and should be split 50/50 between the two.Giving SkillsPart of your authentic growth is helping others grow authentically. Effective giving, to both individuals and to thecommunity, is most congruent when cross referenced with your Brand.Collective Facilitation SkillsDesigning and facilitating effective meetings is one of your best opportunities to communicate credibly. Learningthe skills of a neutral facilitator is a must for 21st Century Leaders. These skills help lay the foundation for truealignment and collaboration.Storytelling SkillsStory is a powerful tool used to engage others in designing a better future and in creating an understandableconnection with meaningful action in the present. Storytelling is artful narrative applied to bring people together as aresult of individualized interpretation of the story.
  2. 2. Three 21st Century Leadership ModelsCopyright © 2006-2008 Rick JohnsonThere isnt much doubt that most effective high impact leaders are driven by a model. This is true even when thateffective leader doesnt take the time to define his personal unique model. A model is a tool that leaders use topredict future outcomes of current decisions; a tool that not only enhances personal creativity but encouragescreativity in the minds of their employees. An executives model is built from the sum of their experiences,knowledge, deeds and, in fact, many of their mistakes. Best practice alone will not get the job done. Effectivemodel driven leadership utilizing best practice is a combination that is an absolute must. Different leaders createtheir models through different approaches. Each model is unique to the individual but the following threeexamples explain the platform that models are built on.The Competitive Desire ApproachSome leaders strongly shape their model by working in every aspect of the business and also from learning thebusiness from the ground up. They always carry a strong desire to compete and win. The Leaders competitiveinstincts are generally tempered by personal humility and respect for the individual managers on his team.Listening skills and genuine interest in what is right for the business are key tools in building a consensus. Belief inthe employees is a guiding principle in leadership style. This same approach is used with both suppliers andcustomers to find the innovative win-win solution. Make no mistake; this approach is very different than typicalnegotiation approaches used in many wholesale-distributors.It becomes a discipline. This discipline circumvents growth mistakes so common in the industry. The otherimplication of this model is providing significant autonomy to the executive team. The leader makes sure theexecutive team has a detailed and shared vision of the business objectives and goals. He believes his role as chiefexecutive is to provide the shared vision and make sure that it is clear and also current.The Elegant, Powerful Win-Win Innovation and Creativity ApproachAnother variation of the servant style of leadership is the elegant, powerful, and simple approach. This approachstarts with an open and clear balance between the various stakeholders whether they are customer/owners,employees, or suppliers. It is a true win-win model without the destructive negotiations experienced by manyother distributors. Using this foundation and a long established set of core corporate values and best practice theleader consistently reminds each stakeholder group of the key messages while continually focusing theorganization on innovation and creativity. Innovation becomes a key strategic initiative for growth. It is exciting tosee the accumulated economic power that can be developed by a constantly evolving innovative business modeland effective leadership combined with best practice utilization.
  3. 3. The Strategic Shift ApproachA third example of leadership modeling is about managing a strategic shift from being a traditional box-movingwholesaler with limited growth prospects to a logistics powerhouse that provides significant value in the supplychain.Strategy is said to be obvious once youve had it explained. It is also said that customers dont see strategy, theyonly see execution. This model like the other examples platform a strong sense of curiosity about other companiesand how to apply lessons learned in their own organizations. The answers needed for major change andorganizational renewal lie outside the enterprise and effective leaders using this model are able to take prior"lessons learned" and on-going bench marking to generate success.Over ninety percent of the reasons companies fail can be traced to ineffective leadership. Its not because of theeconomy and it is not because of the competition. It is a failure to learn. Effective leadership will overcome theseobstacles, and theyll be looking down the road at what needs to be done to grow with the current model orchange it once the model is no longer grow-able. Attention is paid to the lessons learned.What is a High Impact Leader?High impact leaders, regardless of their personal model demonstrate a curiosity that can not be satisfied withoutpersonal examination of what exactly were the causes of any failure to meet expectations. Non-performance is justnot acceptable. Leadership is a key in every instance to creating an attitude, structuring an environment anddeveloping employees as the very essence of success. Although individual leadership
  4. 4. models differ in some specific approaches the common thread that links every model together is respect for theindividual employee and the willingness and ability to listen with an understanding that embellishes their ownleadership contribution to the organization. Best practices are a part of every successful leadership model but bestpractice alone will not create the level of success demonstrated by the high impact upper quartile performers.Effective leaders create a culture where employees can express themselves and fight for what is right; employeesbecome responsibly fanatical about aligning their resources to add value to the customer and the company. Thatswhat high impact leadership is all about. (e-mail rick@ceostrategist.com for a fre*e Business Acumen scorecard).Effective Leaders Dont Have To Know It AllA mistake many leaders make is the self imposed responsibility to have all the answers. This is just not true. It isokay to admit to not having all the answers. Good leaders are willing to show their imperfections. Surroundyourself with a solid executive team and you dont need all the answers. No one expects perfection, justleadership. Being President doesnt grant you supreme knowledge.21st Century Leadership DefinedThe task force concluded that leadership development for the 21st century is holistic: it is centered in groups ororganizations, rather than individuals, and engages the group in heart, mind, spirit, and energy. The driving forcesof this philosophy, then, are community, the heart of a groups leadership; vision, which engages the spirit;learning, which stimulates the mind; and action, which compels energy. From this point of view, leadershipdevelopment shifts from individual-centered to collective-centered; from a packaged curriculum to an evolving,customized educational process focused on building relationships; and from discrete leadership developmentprograms to leadership development embedded in concrete issues identified by the participants in the process.The particular niche of a community-based, university-sponsored leadership development effort was labeledcommunity action leadership development (CALD) and defined as the development of energized communities ofco-leaders and co-learners committed to concerted action toward a collective vision (Vandenberg & Sandmann,1995).The framework can be thought of as the intersection among the related domains of community development,organizational development, and leadership development. Community development is the nurturing of a groupsspirit and the growth of its commitment, identity, loyalty, and willingness to work for a common goal.Organizational development is the increase of a groups capacity to engage in concerted and effective action toachieve group goals. Leadership development is the growth of individuals capacities to facilitate communitydevelopment and organizational development. From this perspective, community action leadership developmentis leadership development for community organizations. It aims to develop individuals abilities to build both agroups community spirit and its capacity to engage in effective action.A Conceptual Framework for Community Action Leadership Development
  5. 5. The framework is composed of four parts. The first part, described earlier, is driven by a holistic philosophy ofcommunity, vision, learning, and action. These forces form the outline of the task force view of leadership. Thesecond part of the framework relates these elements to seven action-based values. The third examines the roles ofdesignated leaders in promoting community action leadership. The fourth part applies methodological principlesto these values and processes in terms of both method and content.Action ValuesEmbedded in the CALD definition are seven action values. 1. Visioning Together. Developing a shared vision that is future-focused and built on a groups strengths is an essential starting point. Visioning engages the spirit, gives meaning and purpose to group efforts, and allows members to rise above self-interest and maintain motivation. A shared vision provides a boundary for action. 2. Leading Together. In "leaderful" organizations, leadership roles are shared and everyone takes responsibility for group process and action. Trust, developed in part through honest and open communication, is the foremost requirement. Designated leaders promote the development of each person by modeling, inspiring, teaching, delegating, and serving. 3. Learning Together. Effective CALD is based on knowledge, which provides substance to a vision and informs action. Group members bring knowledge but also build knowledge through learning cycles. Learning cycles involve planning, acting, and reflecting together. 4. Building Community. At the heart of CALD is a caring community with strong, trusting intragroup relationships forged by visioning, leading, learning, and acting together. A sense of community is reflected in feelings of identity and commitment, in acceptance and appreciation of diversity, and in constructive processes for examining and mediating conflict. 5. Developing Energy. Collective energy is a groups ability to develop or obtain the resources necessary to achieve its goals. To nurture it, a group must focus on organizational development or capacity building. Collective energy requires promoting collective ownership in visioning, learning, planning, decision making, and action. 6. Acting Together. Acting together focuses collective energy and gives life to a vision. The action process requires teamwork, political analysis and strategizing, and the astute organizing of a communitys assets and resources. Facilitators--designated leaders or consultants--must be committed to the process, dedicated to the welfare of the group, and detached from a need to hold power and control. 7. Communicating. A group engaging in CALD must have strong interpersonal communication. Improving communication requires the practice of dialogue--listening to understand, reflecting on one anothers opinions, keeping open-minded attitudes, and ultimately, discovering common ground amidst diversity. Collecting and exchanging valid and reliable information builds trust, contributes to effective co-learning, and helps ensure relevant and well-targeted actions. Networking is an effective means of forging wide- ranging linkages that can lead to collaboration and community building with others in partnerships and coalitions.The Role of LeadersCommunities committed to being leaderful are not leaderless. Designated leaders under this conception, however,do not fit the common notion of leader as hero. Rather they are designers, teachers and stewards who practice thefollowing six principles of community action leadership development. The first four are methodological, involvinglearners in processes that they will use, in turn, as leadership facilitators. The other two are content principles. 1. Facilitation. Leadership development efforts should be based on informal or non-formal teaching, better described as facilitation. CALD involves facilitating the development of a cohesive learning group which
  6. 6. values diversity and explores conflict constructively. This process is based on respect, encouragement, and community building. 2. Learner Focus. To customize leadership development, learning facilitators need to understand the context in which their leadership is situated; the learners needs, desires, and strengths; and the issues being addressed. The most effective method of ensuring relevant, tailor-made CALD is to give participants control of the learning process by engaging them in an on-going process of visioning, planning, decision making, and reflecting about their learning experiences. 3. Leadership Focus. Learner-focused leadership development does not mean leader-focused. Leadership exists as a set of relationships among group or organization members; and everyone in the group has leadership potential and can play leadership roles at various times. This view implies a group-centered approach to leadership development, one centered on organizational development and capacity building. 4. Issue/Action Focus. Out-of-context leadership development programs have limited impact because the transfer of learning to real-life situations rarely happens. Therefore, CALD efforts that aim for long-term impact must incorporate learning centered around real issues that groups are facing, learning in action, and on-going reflection or collective self-examination. 5. Non-Prescriptive. The content of CALD efforts cannot be prescribed. It must be determined with and by participants. The first meeting could consist of an overview of community action leadership, an outline of possible content areas, and an organizational diagnosis exercise. The outline could be organized around the seven action values, subdivided into many more specific topics to choose from.Process as Content. In many ways, the process or methodology of CALD efforts is the content. By being part of aCALD learning group based on the methodological principles described above, participants can learn facilitation,community building, teamwork, group planning and decision making, organizational development, conflictmanagement, and group reflection