Leadership style that is important to succeed in the 21st century
I recently came across an article which is to be published in the February issue of Fortune magazine about how “eBay is back“. Coincidently, I was on site at eBay for a business meeting last week and surprisingly I could see and feel that the organization energy at eBay was very high. I sensed a very positive attitude and optimism from the employees who worked at eBay. Having read the article earlier to my visit, it clearly proved to me that eBay is really back and John Donahoe as the CEO was definitely leading the company with a different leadership style which is also allowing the leadership team downstream to execute the strategy and vision that he was practicing and preaching from the top.
This is a clear example how great leaders can create both economic and social value without sacrificing one objective for another. In fact the book “How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value” talks about CEO’s like John Donahoe who highlights that leadership is not just a skill about a company meeting its quarterly financial goals but also at the same time helping people achieve their personal goals by creating a healthy company culture that helps to promote social values with in the company and the communities that their employees live in.
For the last 17 years that I have lived in the heart of Silicon valley, I have worked for several large and small software companies and start-ups. Having worked at various organizations has allowed me to experience and observe how the leadership style has shifted recently where more and more focus is given by the CEO’s and the leadership team only to the financial performance of the company and no emphasis on the company culture at all. Recent research shows that this style of leadership will turn out to be more damaging to the company in the long run if Leaders don’t make a conscious shift soon enough to save these companies from disaster. In my earlier blog I tried to address the leadership topic in a subtle way through the topic “Why Good Leadership matters...”.
Now that I see examples like eBay making a difference, it’s time more companies pay attention to this style of leadership that can help them to be successful. The next generation leadership style that is important to succeed for the 21st century leaders will have to include strategies that will meet the needs of not just the customers and shareholders but also with the employees and communities.
- Strategy: Need to create a strategy that will connect the head and heart with shared values with all the employees. Leaders will have to identify the capabilities of a company and its employees, which will together help them to build a shared commitment to excel.
- Trust: Leaders need to earn the right to lead by being open with their vision, ideas and strategy and thereby gain trust and credibility.
- Diversity: Since most companies compete in a global market, leaders have a greater responsibility to promote diversity with a shared purpose that can help everyone to contribute to the company vision, at the same time add in their values and achieve their aspirations.
- Performance: Good leadership has to start from the top with the CEO taking the lead and being a role model. It should flow down the leadership chain so it gets well communicated to all so everyone is accountable for the overall success. Through fairness, everyone should be evaluated based on what and how they execute and equally recognized for their efforts and inputs that result in the growth of the company.