Leadership can be defined as the capability in an individual to provide a vision to the others and lead them to materialize that vision. In the present age of cut throat competition in the corporate world, the lack of sound leadership skills employed can lead to gradual breakdown of the corporate organization or entity. It has to be understood that in the age of dynamic economy of multinational business corporations the business process management activities are mostly dependent on team oriented organizational pattern. Each of the business process requirements now is handled by different team of experts, and each of these teams are comprised of different individuals with different domains of professional experts. Now it is also crucial for this team of multidimensional professional experts to have guidance and consultation so that they can overcome personal conflicts and achieve excellent performance and productivity. This is why the corporate entities need organizational leaders to ensure that the business process management is maintained efficiently and successfully (Landy and Conte 2016). The growing consumerism has changed the context has leadership needs as well. Under the impact of financial crisis, recession and rapidly changing consumer market, the organizational leadership needs have changed effectively as well. This assignment will attempt to explore the modern leadership competencies of 21st century and contrast them to the traditional leadership styles to gain an idea of the gradual evolution of the leadership skills over the years.
Key Leadership Competencies in 21st Century:
When considering the modern leadership competencies in the present age, it has to be mentioned that the 21st century corporate world is dependent heavily upon the contemporary leadership styles and approach. It has to be understood in this context that the new age of corporate world is associated with making the optimal use of different opportunities to stay ahead of the competition and retain the clientele along with expanding the target market. According to authors, in order to entertain an optimally running business market it is extremely important to have a proactive and highly competent team of professionals. Hence, there is need for optimal organizational guidance and inspirational leadership in order for the teams to perform optimally (Jaques 2017). Hence, the leadership competencies in 21st century have gone through a few transitions and the impact of contemporary leadership above any other leadership style is conspicuous.
Analytical Decisive Thinking:
For instance, the very first modern leadership competency that the authors have argued upon is the analytical decisiveness and thinking skills. It has to be understood in this context that, in the present age of extreme competition and consumerism, retaining consumer loyalty can be extremely difficult. Hence, there is dire need for critical decisive thinking and in the corporate leader or manager so that he can identify the right opportunities and risks and lead his team accordingly so that maximum business benefit is secured.
Strategic and Shared Planning and Progress:
According to the Kilburg (2012), the global economy at the moment is going through a major reform and hence, there are risks for severe irrevocable events that have the potential to threaten the sustainability of the corporate organizations in the market. Hence, there is need for the organizational managers to be capable of taking rapid yet strategic planning so that all the opportunities presented to the corporate entity is weighed for the pros and cons represented by it and are acted upon. However, Boyles (2012) argued, that only strategic planning in the present corporate age is not enough for the corporate organizations to maintain a harmonious working environment. Hence, the strategic planning is needed to be accompanied by shared inputs from the rest of the staff so that each and every aspect of the performance and productivity issues experienced at each and every stage of business administrative management can be addressed and incorporated in the planning and implementation.
Vision and Focus:
The 21st century leadership trends are intricately associated with the different attributes of contemporary leadership theory above any classical theory associated with leadership management. On a elaborative note, the need for strategic vision and extreme focus on the objectives is extremely important for the 21st century leaders. According to the Northouse (2015), there is a dire need for the 21st century managers to develop a strategic vision that helps them create an organized plan that directs the path that the organization is going to take in the future. On a similar note, it can also be mentioned in this context that in the present organizational scenario, the organizational leaders, regardless of the fact that they are CEOs, managers or project team leaders, it is very important for the leaders to have the confidence and charisma to share their vision to the rest of the stakeholders associated so that a shared action can be planned and implemented. On the contrary, the Perrin et al. (2012) have argued that the along with shared vision rapid execution of the vision is also extremely important so that the organization or the corporate team is not missing out of any opportunities. According to the most of the consensus on this context, it has to be mentioned that competition and consumerism can be considered the driving force in the dynamic economy and without undivided focus and determination in the organizational leader it is not possible for them to lead the organization towards the path of success with critical and strategic foresight and focused rapid execution of the strategies.
Excellent Interpersonal Interaction:
It must not be neglected while discussing the 21st century leading competencies, that effective interpersonal interaction is by far the most important of attributes in the leaders in the present organizational scenario. It has to be mentioned that the present day organizational scenario is associated with a multidisciplinary teams and their collaborative performances, and hence in order to maintain a productive working environment in the company, the organizational managers need to have effective interpersonal interaction in their list of key traits. According to the Marquardt (2012), in the present age the multiple stakeholders associated with a business corporation have competing interests, the probability of generating heterogeneous conflicts are extreme. In such cases, the leaders must have the capability to persuade the direction of any conflict with effective communicational prowess. On a more elaborative note, it has to be mentioned that in this case, the organizational leaders must have the assertive communication skills so that they can easily persuade the situation, although, Viviano (2012), has argued that the assertive communication style can easily be interpreted as autocratic or dominant by the rest of the staff, hence, the communication styles of the 21st century leaders has to be such that will not offend any of the stakeholders associated with this scenario and yet the can successfully share their ideas and can persuade the recipients to see the benefits of their ideas and act accordingly.
Maintaining Motivational Corporate Culture:
According to the most of the authors, in the context of present day organizational scenarios, the need for motivational work culture is extremely important. It has to be understood in this context that the importance of a culturally competent workforce is extremely crucial in the face of a multicultural workforce. As mentioned above, the present day corporate teams employ workforce from diverse cultural and professional domains in order to ensure maximum productivity and quality. As per McCleskey (2014), in order to ensure optimal collaboration and co-operation between the multicultural and multidisciplinary personnel the responsibility of the diverse workforce also falls upon the organizational leader. Hence, the managerial staff needs to juggle with both conflict resolution skills and motivation to keep the diverse workforce optimally and successfully functional. On a similar note Moriano et al. (2014) described that in the 21st century the organizational leaders need to maintain a corporate culture in the workplace that entertains a very high standards or professional ethics and integrity and along with that will have to resolve every concern or conflict in the rest of staff with motivation and inspiration to ensure optimal productivity.
It has to be mentioned that there are a diverse pool of literature that explores the leadership competencies hat are suitable for the 21st century organizational scenario, although the previously published literature only emphasizes on the transformational leadership attributes in terms of contemporary and modern leadership styles as the desired leadership approach for today, there is need for the literature that discusses the impact of other leadership domains like the transactional styles on the 21st century scenario as well.
Contemporary Versus Classical Leadership Styles:
The traditional leadership styles have dominated the organizational sector for the past century undoubtedly, however, with the gradual transition in the workplace culture in the past few decades, the leadership tendencies or approaches have also gone through a significant evolution. In the classic leadership styles there are three basic leadership theories that have formed the foundation of the three core leadership capabilities of the past, the autocrat, democrat and parental leadership approach.
Autocrat Leadership Capabilities:
According to the Aritz and Walker (2014), the classic leadership tendencies as observed in the iconic leaders of the past like the Hitler or Mussolini, their leadership styles were far more associated with the autocratic or dominant leadership skills. The autocratic leaders are only focused with results and are by no means concerned with the grievances or issues that the rest of the followers have with the path they have chosen. According to the trait theory, ‘the leaders are born not made,’ and hence, the leadership traits are also instinctive and cannot be changed or altered. The autocratic leaders are associated with the concept of trait theories as well. And along with that the Giltinane (2013), has discussed that the most important difference between the autocratic and contemporary leadership is the fact that in case of a modern contemporary leader, the attributes like shared decision making, motivation, inspiration and empowerment, where as the autocratic leadership is characterized by independent decision making capabilities, vision and unequal distribution of power. An autocratic leader never shares the power of decision making with the rest of the team mates which if implemented in the present day organizational scenario, would only pave way for conflict and lack of cooperation.
Democrate Leadership Capabilities:
The next most popular leadership category is the democratic kind of leadership which is represented by an equal rights and decision making capabilities, shared among all the stakeholders associated with the business process. A democrat leader gives the followers empowerment and a voice to share their grievances and ideas which is very similar to the contemporary leadership style. However, as argued by the authors, the contemporary leadership competencies are not just associated with sharing the decisive powers with the rest of the teammates or the staff, the contemporary leader in the 21st century needs to portray his vision and mission to the staff that motivates them to follow the same vision. According to the Dansereau et al. (2013), there is a serious argument regarding the best suitable leadership trait in the 21st century corporate scenario, although there is a significant research gap to compare both the leadership style critically with evidence based literature to discover the competencies of both the leadership approaches.
Parental Leadership Capabilities:
The third most popular leadership style that has roots tracing back to the traditional leadership era based on classical leadership theories is the parental leadership style. This leadership style can be characterized by traits that facilitate a parental relationship between the leader and his team. It has to be mentioned that this leadership style enforces the leader to be responsible for the success and failure of the rest of the team. According to the McCleskey (2014), the main difference between the contemporary leadership competence and the parental leadership approach is the fact that a modern leader shares his vision and motivates the followers by the means of an optimistic and positive role model. On the other hand, the parental leadership also opens up possibilities of bias and partiality in the team environment and affects the equality and ethics of the team, which is avoided crucially when the modern styles of leadership taken.
Underlying Causes of Changes to Leadership Competencies:
There are various factors that have contributed affectively behind the transitions in the leadership styles and competencies in the past few decades and each of the factors has had a profound impact on the leadership expectations of the 21st century.
Change in the Corporate Culture:
The corporate culture of the present day organization scenario has changed affectively and with it the leaders who are managing the corporate teams have changes as well. According to the Dinh et al. (2014), the current business world is associated with a multidisciplinary teams with diverse backgrounds working harmoniously with cooperation and collaboration, where there are many possibilities of conflict and miscommunication arising. An autocrat leader will not be able to resolve any of the issues mentioned if there is no change facilitated in the leadership approach. Hence, the leadership competencies have also changed from assertive authority to compassion and empathy directed at the followers.
Impact of Economic Uncertainty:
As explained by the authors, the biggest of impact that has been faced by the corporate industries is the unstable economy and recession. The financial instability has forced many iconic organizational entities to outsourcing and massive human resource cut-offs and hence, it also has generated a significant blow to the staff loyalty and job security in the existing staff. Hence, the organizational leadership needs also have changed drastically to assure and motivate the employees along with coping with the dynamic changes in the consumerism and market trends (Chrobot-Mason, Ruderman and Nishii 2013).
Impact of Technological Revolution:
Another very important contributor to the transition in the leadership capabilities and competencies is the technological revolution in the industrial sector. The implementation of the technologies has slowly eradicated the need for a physical presence and has also aided in altering the traditional working patterns in the industry. According to the Nahavandi (2016), the leadership competencies have changed from the traditional techniques to the contemporary techniques by far the most due to the technological changes, where the leaders need to have technological dep and understanding to guide the rest of the staff and obtain maximal benefits with minimal resources utilized. As argued by Dansereau et al. (2013), however, the implementation of different software driven technologies, the need for more strict and profound guidance has been more elevated and hence the involvement and connection of the modern organizational leaders has escalated as well.
Criticism and conclusion:
It can be stated in the conclusion statement, that the changes in the leadership styles and approaches along the years has been explored extensively in the literature published before and these research studies have provided a rich pool of viable and authentic data to evaluate the chronological changes that have been witnessed in the leadership and guidance needs of the 21st century corporate world. This literature review has evaluated a significant section of the available literature although it has to be mentioned that a larger section of literature has still been unexplored due to time constraints. Although following the trend represented in the literature for this review study, the changes in the leadership styles are largely influenced by the changes in the corporate culture and both the cultural and professional diversity in the workforce employed. And hence, the leadership needs have also morphed into a more compassionate and empathetic note so as to address the issues faced by the diverse staff and take into account their suggestions for industrial betterment. Most of the articles have led to the idea that the modern competencies require team work and optimal co-operative functionality on the team, which can only be facilitated by a leader who can motivate and inspire the staff being one of them rather than alienating him from the rest, leadership qualities that lead to the contemporary styles. Although, there still are gaps left behind in the research that needs to be fulfilled in order to ensure a thorough analysis of how the leadership needs have changed and how it can be addressed optimally. A recommendation for the future research to follow must include emphasis on evidence based cohort analysis studies on the each of the modern leadership competencies to assess their individual importance in the practical scenario. Along with that, te impact of rewards or remuneration based leadership styles and their use as modern leadership competencies have also been large unexplored by the available literature, therefore, this area of research can also provide fertile ground for further studies.
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