Leadership blueprint
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 12:49
Are leaders born or made? Has technology changed leadership style? Business thought leaders provided new insights while deliberating upon the age old issue at the World Innovation Summit for Education. Gauri Rane reports from Doha.

‘Leaders are born’ is an often debated statement. Why is one able to take quick and effective decisions? And why is one despite having the position, falls short of expectations of the senior management?

Globalization has definitely created several career opportunities. This has also led to the emergence of several added qualities that senior level executives need to keep in mind in order to make effective contribution to their companies. Jerry MacAurthur, senior presidential fellow at New York University says, “Leadership today is something like losing control. A leader needs to somehow magnetize people in his/ her direction to achieve a shared vision.”

This brings us to the question—has there been a shift in leadership skills? And how does a leader get people to follow and help them get empowered so they become great performers on their own?

“There has been a significant shift in the quality of leadership received and in the type of leadership needed to solve complex problems that the world is facing today,” says Eric Glustrom, founder, Educate, an organisation that delivers practical and relevant education to 16-20 year olds in Ugandan schools. An education model that comprises leadership and entrepreneurship course, interactive teaching, intensive mentorship, experience starting an enterprise, and access to out of school networks and resources. Glustrom believes that it has become important to distinguish between complex and simple problems as different problems require different types of leaderships. “Leadership now-a-days is more network-based, relational, less talk down, and more collaborative fundamentally,” he says, adding that a new mindset has been cultivated thanks to technology. Glustrom is currently working on developning a university model called the Watson University, to accelerate the ideas of student innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs.

Sandeep Aneja, Kaizen Pvt Equity, feels that just because technology has come in the principles of leadership have not changed. “In fact, leadership across time has had the same values and principles, but in the context,” says Aneja, adding that leadership of military army cannot be the same as compared to the leader of a company,versus a leader of a political party, a leader of a society, or a family. He cautions senior level professionals to distinguish between qualities of a manager versus that of a leader. “A manager can decide to be collaborative but a leadership has only one choice, to listen, learn and encourage failure,” he opines.

Ewa Iwaszuk of Earth Fellows and also a 2012 WISE Learner adds, “Being a leader in the 21st century is a courageous task as in our globally local world, we need leaders who can trust and depend on their teams.” According to Iwaszuk a good leader would be someone who facilitates the growth and learning of their teams so that they can best explore their abilities.


Can leadership skills be taught and learned?

• Yes. Leadership, like most things, can be learned. 81%
• No. Leadership is an innate talent that cannot be taught. 19%

21st Century leader must…

• Create a place where people like to work out of passion and not out of fear
• Create a shared vision so that everyone contributes to achieve shared goals
• Create safe environment to explore capabilities
• Give freedom to experiment
• Maintain mutual trust
• Give people the sense of growth and achievement
• Learn from subordinates
• Be brave enough to give up control

First Published: Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 12:49

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