Monday, September 6, 2010

"Leadership Lessons for Future Leaders" - Professor M.S.Rao

"Keep your mind open to change at all times. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and re-examining your opinions and ideas that you can progress." - Dale Carnegie

Since time immemorial, there has been a lot of emphasis on leaders and leadership. What fascinates this area is still a mystery since history. Although lot of research has been done, it is still unpredictable what makes an individual as a leader. In addition, there is also a debate whether the leaders are born or made.

Often the leadership legends looked back for learning lessons from their past successful leaders whenever they faced leadership crises. For instance, several American Presidents looked back to the leaders like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whenever they were beset with challenges. It helped them learn lessons and overcome the challenges. The question arises here is whether what worked in the past will work in future. The answer for this is both yes and no. It appears strange, right! Let us look at the same.

The concept of leadership remains the same at the core level as the nature of the people remains the same at the core. At the same time, there is need for changes in leadership with the changing times and technologies at the surface level to stay relevant and successful for future survival and success. For instance, leadership in the past believed in the concept of ‘command and control’ and now it is more of ‘collaboration and parternering’. It is at the surface level. However, the qualities like character, example and influence remain the same at the core level. Hence, let us look at few touchstones of future leaders that are the blend of past, present and future.

Touchstones for Future Leaders:

There are several lessons for budding and upcoming leaders to take on the future battles effectively. They need to learn lessons from their failures. As a leader you need to start knocking down obstacles. You need to know your weaknesses and move forward. You should not allow people to know your weaknesses. You need to put up a brave front always. As a leader you need to set an example to influence others. Let us look at few more in a nutshell:

• Character is the key to leadership as Norman Schwarzkopf rightly put it, “The main ingredient of good leadership is good character. This is because leadership involves conduct and conduct is determined by values.”
• Always take the long view.
• Listen to all and unfurl your ideas.
• Although it sounds strange, it is better to befriend with your enemies to ensure your survival and success.
• Achieve your goals at a reasonable expense.
• It is the personal power, not the positional power that counts at the end.
• Emphasize on the ideas and the issues of the individuals.
• There are no competitors but only collaborators as yesterday’s competitors are today’s collaborators.
• Learn lessons in difficult situations.
• Use soft rather hard power.

Future Leaders:

“The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me. I spent my entire career in the United States. The next head of General Electric will be somebody who spent time in Bombay, in Hong Kong, in Buenos Aires. We have to send our best and brightest overseas and make sure they have the training that will allow them to be the global leaders who will make GE flourish in the future.” - Jack Welch

The future leaders must be blend of doers, planners and teachers. They must build capabilities and competencies of their people. They must empower their people. What worked in the past might not work in the future as the leadership scenario has changed drastically. For instance, Winston Churchill was a war time hero, but failed as a leader during peace time.

As there is always change of guard from one generation to another, every generation must pass on the knowledge to its next generation so that the future generations can survive without making mistakes. The new generation learns and adopts the new things that become the surface and also retain the old things that become the core.


“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” - Helen Keller

It is a fact that although times and technologies change, the leadership principles and values that guide human nature does not change in totality. However, there is need to change the things at the surface level to tackle the future challenges without compromising with core values and morals. Therefore, the upcoming leaders and future leaders must reinvent their styles and attitudes with changing times to stand out from the pack and soar like eagles.


laxmi swetha said...
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laxmi swetha said...
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Mohan said...

Good one on future leaders.Everyone should adopt the win-win strategy in this cut-throat competition."pass on the knowledge to next generations" is the key thing.
Thank You.
Mohan R Sama

RK Rishikesh Sinha said...

very nice blog, sir.

laxmi swetha said...

Managing change is one of the greatest challenges that leaders face.change is usually associated with dislodgement and uneasiness.