Some roles of a leader that have not changed are: integrity, communicating a vision, customer satisfaction, competitive advantage, being ambitious for the company while maintaining personal humility. These aspects of leading are very important.

However the role of a leader is changing. Marshall Goldsmith says that there are 5 changing dynamics of Leadership:

1. Thinking globally with regard to suppliers, support staff, markets.
2. The Cross cultural diversity of dealing with cultural, religions, races, sexes.
3. Technological Savvy: how does technology affect your core business? This doesn’t mean you have to be a technician. Hire those who are technologically gifted and competent enough to navigate in the new world.
4. Building alliances and partnerships was less crucial in the past. Now it is a common part of the job. Have a look at the people connecting on LinkedIn and collaborating to create economies of scale in companies like IBM.
5. Sharing leadership is important. The Leader of the past knew how to TELL; the leader of the present knows how to ASK.

Historically there was an apprentice to the boss, as he knew more and mentored this person to bring them through the ranks. Today we hire knowledge workers. These employees may know more than the boss and expect to share their knowledge. When we manage people who know more, we have to ask, listen and learn and leadership becomes a shared responsibility. That is good news for all concerned.

At the same time Leaders still need to have learning agility. The best leaders, and those of the future, are continuously learning and growing. As the world rapidly changes it becomes more and more crucial.

For this reason openness is important as well. If we are going to learn in the knowledge based economy, we need to be open about what we know and what we still need to learn. Most of us like to think we’re open, however the people who work for us may not agree. How do we figure out what are we missing?

One of the ways our clients learn is through a feedback system called a Checkpoint 360 tool. It provides anonymity, allows people at all levels of the organization to give feedback and is done quickly online. As a client of mine once said, feedback is the breakfast of champions.

While it will remain important for great leaders to be relentless in stimulating progress toward tangible results, the way we do that is changing. We are going to have to change, learn and grow just to stay current. Here’s the good news; a study conducted by Marshall Goldsmith of 86,000 respondents concluded that those who ask for input, get feedback, respond and follow up are seen as more effective. How will YOU get feedback, respond and follow up?

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