The concept of leadership in the 21st Century needs to be consistent with the type of society that is emerging. The most significant changes in leadership reflect the transformations that are occurring in society-a society that is evolving from structure of hierarchies, standard answers and predictability, to one that is based on interlocking networks, multiple outcomes, and a comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty. Of most importance, society will be constantly changing, interactive, interdependent and increasingly complex.
A key challenge in today’s world of constant change is to realize that traditional concepts and methods, while appropriate for current projects that have defined outcomes, are often counterproductive for the kind of transformational capacity building that will be necessary for the future vitality of communities. 21st century leadership will take will require more than just shifting from tasks to processes, or from linear thinking to systemic thinking. It will require rethinking the very nature of the overall leadership experience.
The concept of 21st century community and organizational transformation recognizes that there will be times when traditional leadership ideas are appropriate and times when new leadership ideas will to need to be used.
The following chart compares attributes of traditional leadership and transformative leadership. Each person and group will need to develop the judgment to choose which needs to be emphasized based on each situation and overall long-term goal of the organization and community.
|Traditional Builder||Master Capacity Builder|
|Short-term situation||Takes immediate action||Considers the long-term effect|
|Long-term issue||Predicts a specific outcome with predetermined accountability||Anticipates what may emerge using trends and weak signals|
|Concept of Planning||Strategic planning and linear||Adaptive planning and non-linear|
|Concept of Structure||Focuses on standards||Emphasizes alternatives, feedback and networks|
|Concept of Thinking||Focuses on absolute answers and singular truths||Emphasizes being open to new ideas and choices|
|Focus||Concerned for how action impacts the leader||Concern for how action impacts the situation and others|
|Use of Brain||Emphasizes left brain||Emphasizes integration of right and left brain|
|Emotional Attributes||Emphasizes action, being right, strong opinions||Emphasizes patience, caring, openness to new ideas|
|Ethics||Concern for “the” truth||Concern for truth(s)|
|Concept of the individual||Independent and self-sufficient||Inter-dependent and self-reliant|
|Concept of others||Compares to one’s existing beliefs||Embraces diversity and openness of thinking|
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-traditional-transformational-leader-both-neil-richardson.