Leadership Trends Ed Konczal* The Leadership Products and Services market includes thousands of books, consultants, courses and

seminars. Despite this flood of advice we seem to be still asking, “What is effective Leadership”? This is somewhat troubling since we are on the brink of fundamental changes in the economy, business practices and technology. New types of companies are emerging and we need new types of thinking about leadership. Business practices, the workplace, skill requirements have changed so much that the business world seems that it has turned upside down – Leadership styles are morphing – command and control is out, organizations are getting flatter, the competitive landscape is chaotic, people are looking for meaningful work, customers are in control. Here are some of my observations on “what’s happening out there” in leadership changes.
CHANGES IN LEADERSHIP Communications Key Leadership Characteristic Stock Grants Benefits Leadership Thought Leaders OLD THINKING Slick Slide Presentations Charisma Executives Only Traditional Drucker, Cotter, Peters, Bennis NEW THINKING Telling Stories Integrity Employees Work-Life Balance Hargrove (E-Leader), Don Tapscott (Digital Capital) Nordström & Ridderstråle (Funky Business) Bennis, Krets de Vries, DePree Employer Reverse EQ Must Be Seen Gone Embraced Fast Company, Business 2.0 People want meaningful work

Branding Mentoring Smarts Executive Visibility to People Executive Dinning Rooms, Parking Spots Trying New Things Magazines Spirituality In Workplace

Product Upward IQ Limited Widespread Reluctance Fortune, Harvard Business Review What?

Here are a few observations on these changes:

We see the trappings of the Corporate Aristocracy disappearing. Those perks that seemed so worthy of moving up the corporate hierarchy and that create a “we vs. them” mindset just don’t fit the new model.


The movement to innovative, non-traditional benefits that help people manage their work-life have increased in importance since September 11th. Leaders must be seen. This a real example of what Tom Peter’s called “Management by Walking Around”. It is an Old Economy concept that is still relevant. Get out of your office, talk with people at every level, and develop authentic relationships with. People have much to say and leaders have much to learn from them. Even that age-old technique called mentoring is changing. Innovative companies connect executives with younger technology savvy recruits to get a better grip on what technology can do. The ability to express appropriate vulnerability in today's turbulent business environment is an essential component of leadership. Executives must be able to understand the complex and varied impact that stressful situations have on employees. This ability to empathize will make you a more credible, authentic leader, which eventually has an impact on bottom-line performance. For example, in studies where leaders were able during layoffs to be authentic and appropriately vulnerable--that is, sharing information and expressing their personal thoughts and feelings without bitterness or negativity--their departments "bounced back" more quickly than departments where leaders isolated themselves and masked all feelings of vulnerability.1

These developments and others that point to rapid changes in most business matters are changing how leaders learn. Recent studies indicate that leadership development methods are becoming more “just in time” and experimental. Effective leadership is more art than science and is best learned from experience. Leadership Stories are concrete examples of how learned our leadership lessons are learned. I agree with Executive Development Associates who say “Storytelling has an incredible impact and carries more meaning than a textbook, online learning or bullet points on a PowerPoint presentation.” 2 At your next business or social meeting start a discussion by telling your own story. People will open up and will likely tell their stories. The discussion will continue on since people relate to stories about what they experienced themselves. So when you get ready to rush to meet the next person that you need to talk with, what will be the story that you are going to tell? What is the message that you are going to begin to weave, what is the significance of the words that you are going to say? Take a minute. Take a deep breath. Think of one message that you want someone to remember and pass on, joyfully and simply to another human being--today. Need more information visit www.clevelmanagers.com


Notes 1. Mary Lynn Pulley, and Joan P. Gurvis, “The Ultimate Learning Experience,” Across the Board, Vol. 41, Issue 4 (Jul/Aug 2004). 2. Executive Development Associates, “Learning On The Fly” (August 2002), 7. •
About the author: Ed Konczal has an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.. Ed has spent the last 10 years as an executive consultant focusing on human resources, leadership, market research, and business planning and brings over 10 years of top-level experience from AT&T in the areas of new ventures and business planning. Ed is co-author of the book “Simple Stories for Leadership Insight,” published by University Press of America. He recently designed a unique Business Based Searc Engine that contains resources he personally reviewed for quality information and limited or no spam, ads. Access it at www.clevelmangers.com


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