What we all want is a workplace where people feel inspired, motivated and challenged, in a good way. And we want the right kind of leader to make this happen. One of the most difficult jobs there is in life is managing people. In the past we have seen leaders who demand respect and enforce their authority or power over others. This is fear based leadership. One where people step on others to get to the top, or to get what they think they want. With the sheer amount of change that is occurring all over the world, and the growing demand for transparency, these types of leaders are now recognised, singled out and shunned.
I recall a time in the past when it was common to see articles for women about embracing your inner bitch. Seriously, that was a thing. Just ask Madonna. Women thought they needed to demand respect, to stand on the same playing field as men. They thought they had to be strong and authoritarian and aggressive like men, rather than be true to themselves. So now we are left with too many female leaders who are known to be aggressive and thought of as bitches; who demand or force respect rather than inspiring people.
It wasn’t that long ago, only the 60’s, when women really started to step out into the workforce, to take on roles that weren’t just for ‘women’. And women had to fight for things they wanted, fight for their position in the workplace. So it’s not surprising that many women have taken on this confused masculine role.
We now see a new type of leadership evolving for both men and women: a leader that displays qualities that excite us, and make us want to be around them, to be part of their company or solution.
This new leader is compassionate, and balances this magnificently with authority. In order to balance compassion and authority they have to look within, to balance the masculine and feminine, allowing both to reside in harmony. They honour both compassion and authority because both are necessary to gain true respect and inspire others to follow.
Time and again we have seen that all it takes is one person to make a difference. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see”. The new leader of today understands. They know that if they constantly strive to be the best person they can it will change the way people interact with them. They know to shed their issues; not to react or be driven by falsities – like ego, fear or anger. They aren’t swayed by judgement, adulation or trophies. They’re driven by service and the commitment to making a difference. In this way their interactions are genuine and inspire others, because in this transparent world we can all see through falseness. Deep down what we all want is connection. The only way this is truly attained is through genuine interaction.
The new leader knows that by creating an atmosphere of trust, respect and connection within the workplace and community, and by constantly evolving, people will be more fulfilled. This is attractive. People want more of it. So people – and the money – will follow.
The old way of leadership was to tear people down, to disempower them, so they didn’t have the strength to disagree, but would follow like sheep. This leadership style created all sorts of power struggles, bullying tactics and emotionally squashed staff – who felt they had no choice but to do what they were told. This outward focused power model of leadership is now replaced by one of inner power and strength. This version of leader feels strong and powerful within. They don’t feel the need to prove themselves. They shine. And because they do, they can see others’ inner strength and talents; they allow them to step up and shine alongside them. They don’t see skin colour, religion, sex/ sexual preference or age. They see you. And they know that creativity is contagious; that that’s what leads to greatness and new inspired ideas. And so they allow everyone around them to feel safe to explore the unknown, to ask questions.
These new leaders better themselves through reflection at the end of each day. They take 15 minutes to review all interactions, all activities, searching out weaknesses and strengths; deciding if it’s all heading in the best direction – instantly adjusting direction if needed, if new information comes in. They don’t stick to rigid plans. They’re agile and go with the flow. They know how to throw KPIs in the trash where they belong.
Fortune magazine creates a list of the greatest leaders of today. This is what they tell us: All those on our list excel at leading effectively in today’s environment.” Then they tell us what they see to be the three crucial lessons great leaders teach:
- Acknowledge reality and offer hope. This central leadership task is more difficult and important in uncertain times. JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon is again proving excellent at it, talking bluntly about the bank’s challenges, offering optimism without sugarcoating. It’s a fine line to walk.
- Bring followers physically together. Research shows that when groups meet in person, face-to-face, they trust each other more, become better problem solvers, and are markedly more creative. Those are outcomes every organization needs more of. Pope Francis understands the power of physical presence, having set by far the most torrid travel pace of any pope and gathered followers in 27 countries to date, sometimes by the millions. The organizers of the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington surprised even themselves when millions of marchers turned out worldwide, drawing energy and inspiration from one another.
- Build bridges. As the acerbity of political discourse threatens to infect the whole culture, the best leaders stay refreshingly open to other views, engaging opponents constructively rather than waging war. Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Democratic Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, for example, advocate positions the other party favours—and both won reelection easily the last time they faced their home voters.
These are interesting observations. What they don’t say is that today’s leader is powerful from within; which is felt and appreciated by their staff, by their community. Anyone can be this leader, no matter what gender, religion or race. We all have the power. We just need to look within to find it.
So how will today’s leader become tomorrow’s leader…
The leaders of tomorrow will empower their staff. For example, they’ll encourage them to see any faults within products or services, allow them to find the right solution and implement it – without needing to go up through the chain of command, which slows things down dramatically or stops them altogether. This slowed-down chain of command creates an environment of dis-empowered and unmotivated staff and customers; which invariably loses money and weakens reputation and trust within the community. The new model of management will mean that managers can then report to their managers that there was a problem, but it has now been fixed. This will save loads of time and money and create a more effective workplace.
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