New Leaders in 21st Century – Insights!

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We are in the era of 21st Century. We are in a transformational phase in our professional & personal life. Big Data , Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and other technological advancements their inclusion in culture are going to be a game changer in organisational performance, customer experience, and sustainability of employment.

Leaders are very integral part of organisation to survive in current business climate. New technology has changed many more jobs. It has eliminated many jobs role but not destroyed work. A key test for the future will be whether we can create strong and effective structures and practices in work place to maximise the benefits.

Due to current transformational phase, employees feel effects such as distress, confusion, and uncertainty about their job role. In this context we can say the thought of perspective leaders. They believe that they have freedom to take decisions the way they think is right and they have to execute it accordingly. They feel that this is their responsibility to get the right performance for the organisation.

“They further feel that it is very important to get the tasks done by monitoring the sub-ordinates in the organization. This model of leadership presents a picture of leaders having position, power and plethora of resources at their disposal. With the power that the leader enjoys in the system, and the bouquet of resources at his/her command, the leader feels he/she can deliver the intended results. Unfortunately, such a leadership style creates a climate of what is known as “market contract” for others working in the system. In a market contract people work for the pay and no more. They feel that additional work is not worth unless they are compensated more. This model of leadership is not very promising in bringing the best performance in an organization.

There is a second approach to leadership practiced by many today. In this approach, leaders believe that the unique position that they have obtained and the endowment of resources at their command provides them a great opportunity to enable others do their best. Such leaders believe strongly in nourishing leadership talent around by creating space and agenda for others. They derive their joy by becoming irrelevant in many day-to-day matters pertaining to running the institution.

This approach will help create a climate of “psychological contract” for others working in the system. In a psychological contract people respond to the call of duty and work beyond the norms if situations demand such a response. They own their place of work much more and feel more involved in many things in their work place. “1

I would like to highlight the conversation between The Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna from The Bhagavad Geeta.

Chapter 3.21 “ यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः। स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते।।“ and 3.24 “ उत्सीदेयुरिमे लोका न कुर्यां कर्म चेदहम्। सङ्करस्य च कर्ता स्यामुपहन्यामिमाः प्रजाः।।“

Here from the above conversation three leadership qualities come up.

  1. “Lead by example,
  2. Leadership with high degree of equanimity. Keep a balance in every situation. Whenever things goes well, leadership is fine ,however during moments when unexpected things happen then they just loose their balance.
  3. Understand the principle of mutual dependency.”1

Based upon these three factors three leadership qualities have been developed. Spiritual Leadership: It focuses on creating an ethical workplace with shared values in which employees and leaders have engaged relationships.

It builds social organisational culture in which leaders and employees value  are aligned. They believe on making employees felt valued members  in organization by showing them genuine care, concern, and appreciation to employees on time.

It creates a value of employees in organisation.

Adaptive Leadership: The idea of the approach is that the current economic business climate presents new challenges for leaders every day. As a result, supporters of the adaptive leadership approach express that leaders need to constantly adapt to the ever changing business environment around them. These leadership has three dimensions.

They adopt new approaches to find sustainability success during business turbulence. They encourages new experimentation. If they fail they learn from it. They believe  on sustainable success for their employees and organisation.

Transformational leadership: “Transactional leadership (TL) is generally considered as a traditional leadership approach, premised largely on the conventions of scientific management. According to Burns (ibid.), transactional leadership is based on an exchange relationship between leaders and followers whereby followers receive rewards contingent on their compliance to a leader’s wishes. TL on the other hand is a type of leadership that motivates followers to achieve performance beyond expectations, by transforming the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the followers (Bass, 1985).” Transformational leaders intellectually stimulate followers by increasing their involvement in problem solving activities by  regularly consulting them for their ideas and insights.

An organisation may require a mix of leadership styles . Within this process there may need to be elements of transactional leadership where reward and incentives to achieve the goals are provided.

Moreover we can’t say what is right or what is wrong. Leaders are dynamic. As per organisational situation leaders take a birth to be a new leader for survival succession of organisational growth.  Organisation needs women leader to get the sustainability growth of business by promoting welcoming work culture, gender equality which increase productivity, greater innovations, better products, better decision making, higher employee retention, and satisfaction for long run organisational sustainability.

There may be another list of new leadership style like innovative / creative leaders, authentic leaders, corrective leaders, with more women empowerment and women leadership in  socio-economic status.

Sources :Bulletin of the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture  Aug 2017.

1.Mahadevan, B. (2012). “ Leadership lessons from Bhagavad Gita”, Impact, July 2012, pp 13 – 16.


Author- Sunetra Mukherjee has over 12 years of experience in HR Profession with core HR Generalist Profile and she has worked with companies like Senco Gold Limited, Jubilant Foodworks Limited and Aegies Ltd etc. Her Last assignment was Head- Human Resources at Senco Gold Limited.

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