Leadership in the 21st century

Want to know how to be a leader who promotes diversity and keeps employees motivated in the workplace? Lizanne de Jong looks at the challenges of being a leader in the 21st century.

Research indicates that the challenge that leaders in the 21st century have to deal with concludes that:
Business savvy alone is not enough to survive the challenges faced by leaders.
The complexity of change in our environments wherein we operate requires the ability to deal with complex thinking skills. Our decision making is marked by the ability to deal with the complexity and chaos in the environment outside the business. You need to be proactive in sensing the changes, managing the impact on your business and staying competitive. As a leader keep informed of change in the environment on a political, economy, social, technological and environmental level.

More complex problems demand greater reflection. You need to make time as a leader to build in a reflective practice in your daily or weekly routine. Set aside reflection time on a regular basis to evaluate yourself, your business and create a space for thinking differently about the challenges that you are facing.

Evaluate yourself in terms of:

Your vision and objectives on a personal level;
Alignment of your vision and values with the organisational vision and values;
What is working and what is not working well;
What is within your control and what is not, and change or adapt where you have control;
Keep a healthy work-life balance; and
Continuously learning and integrating.

Sustainable long-term strategy must have a positive impact on society.

Social responsibility talks to the spiritual side of your business. Do you invest in the sustainability of the society in the long-term or do you do it because you have to?
Decide on how and where you want to make a positive contribution to society and do it with heart, not obligation.

Large-scale efforts need to leverage diversity in all its forms.

With business routinely operating across borders, understanding the business practices and leadership expectations of other cultures can promote collaboration, mutual benefit, and increased appreciation of workforce diversity. In the South African context it is challenging to deal with diversity in the organisation due to social and educational levels, race, religion, personality, gender differences and a historical imbalance of power. Do a survey to find out the real diversity issues, plan to optimise the diversity and work with the underlying issues to create an inclusive organisational culture in the organisation. There are no quick fix answers, but when diversity is leveraged, it can have a positive impact on the performance of the entire organisation.

Ingenuity drives innovation, which sharpens a competitive edge.

Decide on how you drive innovation in the organisation. Do you encourage innovative thinking, reward ingenuity and constantly evaluate and assess better and smarter ways of doing what we have been doing in the past? Innovation is the new competitive edge.

Motivating people must involve their emotions as well as their minds.

People want to be recognised and involved in something bigger than them. Involve them, let them participate in decisions and give them a voice. People are more than just a bum on a seat, recognise, acknowledge and involve them.

For more insights join the People Management Skills for New Managers course hosted by Alusani Skills & Training Network®. Contact us to find out when our next course is running. For more information call 011 447 7470, email faith@alusani.co.za or visit their website  www.alusani.co.za

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