Leadership Crisis in the 21st Century

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of our newest board member, Raciel Sosa, the CEO of Leadex Solutions, a leadership development firm based in Mexico. Raciel is a coach and consultant focused on building healthy working environments, strong leadership and high performance teams.

Para ver la versión en español de este post, haga click aquí.

The great economic eras documented in Universal History are hunting and gathering, farming/agriculture, the industrial age, and the digital era, in which we now live.

Each of these eras has been accompanied by different tools, distinct paradigms, and models of leadership.

The end of the twentieth century clearly framed the beginning of the digital age, and although the tools were already ready (computers, cell phones, tablets etc.), neither the paradigms nor the models of leadership have been suitably updated.

Early 21st century leaders were educated by the Traditionalist and Baby Boomer generations, whose beliefs about leadership tended to be vertical, authoritarian, and based on control. Leaders looked for well-defined processes and repetitive programming of tasks to generate consistent results.

The digital age presents new challenges. Technology allows immediate access to unlimited amounts of data and connectivity between human beings at an unimaginable speed. Many economic models that were successful in the twentieth century, are in decline – as are old ideas about what makes a good leader.

Many organizations are unable to retain talented workers long-term. Millennials and the generation coming up behind them have a new way of seeing life that is incomprehensible to Baby Boomers and Generation X. There is an authentic Tower of Babel in the organizational world and this, coupled with the advance of newer, small companies, is putting large corporations in crisis and in danger of extinction.

Today, traditional leaders often do not know how to operate within these new protocols surrounding work-life balance and accuse the new generations of being egocentric and unproductive. The younger generation responds by judging those Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to be old fashioned and insensitive.

Fortunately, new research gives guidance on where we must evolve as leaders. Putting a focus on respect, trust and admiration is fundamental. Creating a happy work environment for all employees is compulsory and finding answers to the work-life-balance conundrum can’t just be a talking point – it must be backed up with concrete strategy and policy.

The leadership of the 21st century is in crisis and must be renewed.


2 thoughts on “Leadership Crisis in the 21st Century

  1. This article is well written and focused on the status of the evolution of organizational leadership, factoring in the current demographics of our workforce, which is still heavily comprised of 4 distinct generations.

    Given the speed of expected changes in leadership methodologies, the next 5-10 years will be exceptionally dynamic for those who serve in leadership roles, and it will be very exciting to see what models emerge as “ideal” when considering “effective” leadership models.

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