Developing 21st Century Leadership Skills: Evolve the Leader Within You

If you want to develop 21st century leadership skills there are two questions that you need to ask yourself before anything else:

Firstly, think about your role model. What kind of leader would you follow?

Secondly… What kind of leader do you want to be?

When you think about the first question, the answer will come to you almost instantly. However, the answer to the second question may be the same as the first one, or you may have moments of pause in your thinking… and, at the end you may come to the conclusion that you need more time to think about it carefully.

That’s all right. Giving careful consideration to what kind of leader you want to be and the impact you want to leave on the world can be challenging and inspirational. For the most part, it is challenging because of the fact that great leaders are the ones who take full responsibility for their actions, the actions of their team, the results of the entire organisation and business. You have to be the first person who goes into the dangerous and unknown. Blaming others is no way to build trust.

So, are you ready to evolve the leader within you?

Emotional intelligence.

Knowing and managing your feelings, drives, moods and reactions, mean knowing how they affect you and others in different situations and states. Being in control of your emotions and understanding and managing the emotions of others affect thinking, decision-making process, team performance and goal achievement. Basically, it affects everything. In a rapidly changing business environment you need to communicate clearly and transparently with your team, while maintaining strong interpersonal relationships.

The key to connecting with others is to connect with yourself first. Write down the emotions you are experiencing in certain moments in your workplace. You can be more self-aware if you choose to keep a journal as well.

Identify what you feel by saying to yourself ̶ I feel hurt… instead of pointing to others that they are responsible for what you feel – e.g. You are an irresponsible and lazy worker.

Surrounding yourself with great talent.

The people you choose to bring in your team are very important. Also, you must understand the global business markets and how to manage the diverse workforce. By moving your team member into the right position you are giving him/her the opportunity to grow vigorously. By giving your team members the opportunity to try and to thrive in the safe environment that you create for them as a responsible leader, you will bring out the best in them and consequently your vision will come true.

The latter idea is explained in more detail in the TED Talk called ‘’Why good leaders make you feel safe’’:

Innovation and agile thinking

The company Nokia, lost the game in the fast changing world of smartphones some years ago. Some of the reasons were, that it was led by the culture of fear and that nobody had the guts to tell the truth to the top managers that things went wrong. Even when they tried to improve their product with touchscreen and other technical details, it was too late.

In the uncertain economy, you as a leader have to think proactively and creatively. You have to think of the creative and effective ways of solving the possible multitude of scenarios. The complex situations need strong collaboration with other organisational and non-organisational members and experts. You have to invest your time in the formal and informal lifelong learning of digital business, relationship and team building, network marketing, cognitive, personal development and many other skills.

You have to listen carefully what the future may bring. You have to frequently press the ‘update button’ of your knowledge and skills. In this way, you would evolve the leader within you for 21st century leadership.