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The New Leader

Bookshelves are filled with texts on how to become a better leader. Some of these books suggest that the secrets to leadership success may be found through imitating successful leaders from the past such as Attila the Hun and Robert E. Lee. While one may glean snippets of knowledge from such sources, the modern workplace is very different from the plains of Mongolia or the hills overlooking Gettysburg. Modern workers are highly educated, tuned into the world through a variety of media and capable of voting against a bad boss with their feet. Modern organizations are complex and produce products and services that require increasing levels of technical understanding. Above all, the amount of information that must be managed has exploded, and the world is connected via networks into one increasingly small global village. These days waving swords and battle flags will more likely result in leaders being arrested than their being successful.

Leading today's employees (many of whom are called knowledge workers because we need what is their head more than we need their muscles) is a little like herding cats. The new worker expects clear communication and prefers participation. Even the modern Marine Corps requires a much more sophisticated leader than a shouting drill instructor. To be great leaders today, Attila the Hun and Robert E. Lee would require a lot of personal growth. To succeed they would need:

  1. The ability to think of organizations as systems.

  2. The ability to understand that real events exhibit high levels of variability.

  3. An understanding that change is constant and no organization can stand still without going backwards.

  4. The ability to build and manage highly focused work teams.

  5. The ability to be a performance manager and coach for individuals and teams.

  6. The ability to formulate a sound and workable vision for the future to guide the company's efforts.

  7. The ability to analyze trends, solve problems, and make decisions.

  8. To continually refine their emotional competency.

  9. To effectively communicate with superiors, peers, and subordinates.

  10. To continually build resilience in the face of adversity and the ability to bounce back from disappointment.

The new leaders must continuously pursue excellence in all ten of these areas. Incomplete learning of these skills won't do either; Leaders should strive for mastery across these domains so that as they develop skills in each area, there will always be a higher level towards which they can strive.

This web-based program will help you take your first steps in your journey towards becoming a new leader, ready for the challenges of the information age and the global economy.

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