Today, we experience a shift in the traditional structures of life, business and work, alike to the situation and events described in the film Modern times by Charlie Chaplin (unemployment, the introduction of new technologies in production, job seeking, financial shortage, etc.) This shifting in the events and circumstances brings along and an analogous change in the way we used to define the things around us.
New conditions require new definitions of concepts, ideas, approaches and, of course, a new definition of leadership, a one that would integrate all the many facets and roles, reserved by the society for modern man and woman.
A New Leadership Definition
This new definition of leadership should balance, encompass and engage in a consistent course of action, all the different aspects of someone be or aspire to be an effective and influential agent of a group of people. of a community or of a society (i.e. a leader or someone aspiring to be a one).
Today, we live in times of change (interesting times as the old Chinese proverb says), and changing, it seems to be the only constant we have to deal with, in the future. Both in our personal as in our professional lives.
This, usually, means that a lot of things have to be abandoned, if we wish to have the courage to stand up, today, as leaders, warriors, scholars, trainers, workers, employees, educators, directors, consultants, entrepreneurs, business person, etc.
There are a few models in the international literature, attempt to define leadership in our modern society, some of which have been discussed elsewhere. But one of the most promising, according to my opinion, model, trying to include the different aspects and roles of a leader in the present conditions of market and society, comes from the area of e-Learning and Tutoring.
In that post, I tried to present the basic characteristics and roles of a coordinator in the online process of learning. But reviewing the same characteristics and roles I find striking resemblances and similarities with the roles, a leader should he or she embodied in our modern digital economy.
A New Model For Leadership
Based on the above assumption and argumentation, today, a leader (not only in the strict sense but as well as someone who wishes to take control of his/her personal and professional life) should be:
- Content And Context Facilitator: a leader should be able to give content and context to any given situation, support friends, colleagues, co-workers to understand more easily and handle effectively the emerging and pressing situations in personal and professional life.
- Metacognition Facilitator: a leader should encourage the reflection, by all the involved parties, of the processes involved in any given situation, providing goals, outcomes, skill development paths, aiming at the best comprehension of the events and the situations and drawing valid conclusions to be served as guides for future actions.
- Process Facilitator: a leader provides always operational support towards the others, aid them in the development and implementation of the required process and systems, removing the obstacles may arise in the course of action and align the outcomes with the strategy, goals, and values of the organization, of the company, or of the society.
- Advisor/Counselor: a leader always provides advice, mentoring, facilitation, coaching, and support to anyone wishes to benefit from him or her contribution.
- Assessor (Formative And Summative): a leader is responsible for offering the necessary feedback to his/her followers, circles of influence, to motivate them towards desired directions, to support them in their activities, to evaluate them on their progress, etc.
- Technologist: a leader usually has to be a valuable resource of knowledge related to the proper use of the required technologies and tools might help an operation or an activity.
- Resource Provider: a leader should be responsible for providing all the necessary resources deemed as necessary for all the participants in a formal or informal procedure, trying to leverage the lack of required skills to the demands of the new situation for all the people involved in a process.
- Manager/Administrator: a leader is usually responsible for the management or administration of one or more procedures, projects, activities in the framework of an organization or in his/her life. In this level, he or she should be able to monitoring, evaluating, checking and re-adjust the flow of the implementation of a given procedure or project, and re-adjusted it, if deemed necessary.
- Designer: a leader usually is the designer and the source of various leadership initiatives, schemes, strategies, etc that should be started or proceed in the framework of a situation. In this role, he or she provides help, experience, goals, and activities towards others involved in this situation.
- Co-leader: a leader or someone aspires to be one, usually, is a part of a group of leaders, following their steps, monitoring the problems, dealing with the situations and the problems may arise and proposing proper win-win solutions for the best resolution of any given situation.
- Researcher: a leader, usually, is a pro-active participant and researcher in the leadership development process, trying to merge in the learning process, knowledge, skills, attitudes and leadership experience that would support more efficiently the developing of leadership skills and experience to the people involved in that learning process. In such way prepare the future leaders of a community, organization, company, etc.