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Leadership 4.0: Digital leaders taking the 21st century by storm
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Leadership 4.0: Digital leaders taking the 21st century by storm 

Oh how times have changed from ye old age of how we perceive on what the requisites in becoming a King have been. Gone were the days where blood is shed and challenges are overcome. No more do we see where Kings are determined based on the tip of a sword and their strength in battle. It’s the journey from where we were and to where we are now that depicts the evolution of Kings or in other words the Evolution of Leaders.

Being effective in the 21st century requires a new breed of leaders. No mistaking that it has 19 years since we ushered in the dawn of a new century. And currently, a lot of things are changing. Leadership too, as a result, has to undergo structural changes to adapt to a redefining time. As cliché as this may sound, the way leaders are traditionally developed is ripe for disruption.

What is leadership?

According to MindTools, the word “leadership” can bring to mind a variety of images. For example:

  • A political leader, pursuing a passionate, personal cause.
  • An explorer, cutting a path through the jungle for the rest of his group to follow.
  • An executive, developing his or her company’s strategy to beat the competition.

MindTools also reiterates that leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organisation; and it is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring.

Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination. If we look back in time, we can see leadership as a concept—and as a set of qualities—has changed almost beyond recognition.

The Codian’s take:

  • Businesses need to humanise leadership development to chart an effective succession planning.
  • Leadership development is no longer a one-size-fits-all package.
  • These days, private and work lives are closely intertwined. Therefore, leadership programs must put the individual learner’s needs at the centre of their design.

The evolution of leadership?

According to MIGHT, in the beginning, the power of leaders came from sources which were divine or mythical in nature. Think of how Arthur became King by pulling a sword from a stone which was once the acceptable standards in acknowledging the divine rights for kings to rule. During those ancient times, people ruled because they happened to be born into the right family or because they could command the strongest armies. Those were the days leadership meant giving orders and being obeyed, usually because of fear of retribution, whether in this lifetime or the next. As they say during those days, “Off with their heads”.

Defining leaders during those days: authoritarian, insulated from followers, demanding and dominating, expected unquestioning obedience, used fear and abuse to coerce their followers, and were rare people felt that few people were capable of being powerful leaders.

Fast forward to the 21st century, digital technologies have disrupted everything, not only within IT, but also leadership styles and how we manage our organisations. Leaders at every tech company are not digital leaders, but it is undisputed that Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the best examples today.

First and foremost, there is a difference in management styles. Both men have the gift to inspire their employees to innovate and “hold” onto these ideas. Their acumen in applying benchmarks of digital leadership shows a fast, cross-hierarchical, cooperative, and team-oriented approach often integrating the innovation peak ideals of Silicon Valley. Above all, the personal competence, the mindset, and the application of new methods (or instruments such as “design thinking”) are crucial. According to Oxford Leadership there are several traits that are exhibited, ones that we also use to differentiate Leadership 4.0.” To learn more about the topic, you can read the original article here.

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