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The Evolution of Leadership Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 2:00 pm By: Rafael Ríos, Executive Vice President

The world has changed significantly in the last thirty years. We have seen the emergence of China as an economic power house. A new global  economic playing field that has increased marketplace competition in the neighborhood and around the world. Technology has paved the way to the creation of multiple sources of information that enhance collaboration and learning. Global terrorism has heightened uncertainty as political landscapes have changed.  Knowledge and information creation or distribution has gone viral. We are witnessing the evolution of a critical mass of people, from around the world, capable of developing the practices and processes necessary to compete. Yes we have opened the door to a new generation that is socially connected,  doing face book and  being tweeted while watching a u tube video.

We have also seen many changes in our workforce. Today our organizations are diverse, multicultural, dispersed and distributed. This is the first time in history that we have had fourdifferent generations working side-by-side in the workplace. Remember, if you are old enough, when older workers were the bosses and younger workers did what was asked of them, no questions asked. The newest generation to enter the workforce (the Millennials) place fresh demands on their organizations every day (but, of course, so did the Gen-Xers, Gen-Yers, Boomers, and Traditionalists before them).

Yes we could come to the conclusion that the process of leading organizations in times of so much change and turmoil must have also revolutionized. A lot of literature is in the last couple of years has pointed us in that direction.

For example some researchers indicate that people communicate based on their generational backgrounds. Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons. Learning how to communicate with the different generations can eliminate many major confrontations and misunderstandings in the workplace and the world of business.

This argument is not new. This has always been the case. I remember my first boss, crew cut and all, yelled  at me, a long haired 21 year old(my hair didn’t touch the bottom of my collar), because he could not communicate with my generation.

I agree with the research from James Kouzes and Brian Posner “that the concerns from the people coming into the work force, the Millennium Generation, were not all that different from those they had heard from their older sisters and brothers, and even their moms and dads when they’d responded to the same question. They wanted to know what every other generation wanted to know. Age made no difference”.

There has not been a leadership revolution. Many researchers are clear with that point.

Our research of literature and our interventions related to leadership have lasted more than three decades and it reveals various points. We have prepared a list of irrefutable leadership principles that have been tested over time and today are just as valid as they were thirty years ago.

Leaders understand that they must continually master the art and science of leadership and the organization. They are always training .Their knowledge determines their effectiveness and the potential impact of the organization.

Successful leaders are great teachers. They maximize the potential of people by creating a stimulating learning environment.  The lead people to explore, challenge their thinking, and discover answers for themselves.

True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that cannot be mandated. It must be earned.

Leaders focus people to the future with an integrating and motivational vision. They chart the course and navigate the organization to its destination. First-rate navigators always have in mind that other people are depending on them and their ability to chart a good course. They also understand that by looking backward they will be enabled to see further forward.

Trust is the foundation of leadership. It is the most important thing. Leaders cannot repeatedly break trust with people and continue to influence them. Credibility is the foundation of Leadership.

Before you can lead others, you have to lead yourself and believe that you can have a positive impact on others. You have to believe that your words can inspire and your actions can move others. You have to believe that what you do counts for something.

Leaders provide a persistent, consistent, and optimistic focus on strategy execution, making sure that everyone understands that failure is not an option.

The best leaders demonstrate more affection toward others and want others to be more open with them. They are more positive and passionate, more loving and compassionate, and more grateful and encouraging than their lower performing counterparts.

Copyright 2013, QBS

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