Tuesday, 4 August 2015

“The Current Landscape of Business Leaders and What Type of Leaders the 21st Century Organization Needs” ―Professor M.S.Rao

“The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing. The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker.” ―Peter F. Drucker

The 21st century organizations need a different set of leaders and a unique leadership style which is soft leadership coined by me. The challenges encountered in 20th century are different than the ones being faced in 21st century. The 21st century organizations need leaders who treat their employees as partners rather than followers. It calls for valuing people as people, not as workers. It must emphasize on the concept - employees first, customers second and shareholders third.  When you look at global organizations like Google and Virgin group, they believe in the concept of employees first, customers second and shareholders third. Only when the employees are treated and valued well, they will be able to work well to meet the rising customer expectations and aspirations. When customers are happy with their goods and services, they refer to other customers through word of mouth, and on social media to get more and more customers. Increased customers bring increased revenue to the 21st century organizations to improve organizational bottom lines thus adding value to the shareholders. Hence, 21st century organizations need leaders who treat their employees as partners and who value employees more than customers.

What worked in the past might not work in the present and future. Hence, there is an urgent need for 21st century organizations to have leaders with a unique mindset, toolset and skillset. Hence, we will explore soft leadership which is an innovative leadership style.  Soft leadership is a blend of both soft skills and leadership. In this style, people skills are adopted to lead people. The Gen Y are very smart, intelligent and ambitious. They are more career-oriented, and are ready to sacrifice their family to fast-track their careers.

The 21st century leaders must have several skills and abilities to lead from the front. Here are some of them:  

Overcome VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). The global business environment is highly dynamic and challenging. The competition is cut-throat. You must run a little faster than everybody else to keep your lead. It is tough to predict the very next moment because there is uncertainty everywhere, and there is no guarantee that the decisions that you make will definitely deliver fruitful results. 
Embrace change effectively. Change is the only thing constant in this world. Organizations must change with changing times and technologies, and leaders must be ready to lead the change.
Build leadership pipeline. Research shows that baby boomers are retiring globally and there is a leadership vacuum as the Gen Y are not equipped to undertake leadership roles and responsibilities.  Hence, there is an urgent need to provide leadership development programs to leaders at all levels especially at the entry and middle levels who will be able to bridge the leadership-gap.  When leaders are ready, talent is retained within the organizations to encounter challenges and achieve organizational excellence and effectiveness.
Learn, unlearn and relearn. The leaders must learn new leadership tools and techniques regularly. They must be flexible and act as per the situation as there is no tailor made solutions to problems. They must discard what doesn’t work and quickly relearn new skills and abilities to stay ahead of times and technologies.
Adopt soft leadership style. It is a new leadership style coined by me to lead employees by respecting and making them special. It treats employees are partners. It doesn’t promote leadership or followership.

“To survive in the twenty first century, we are going to need a new generation of leaders – leaders, not managers.” ―Warren G. Bennis

If you like this article, Like and share Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Professor-MSRao/451516514937414

Life is great!

Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
Vision 2030 Webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBCO-gWmTRk
Twitter: @professormsrao  
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL: http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Leaders-ebook/dp/B00AK98ELI

Thanks for reading!

Kindly share your thoughts and comments below, I’m sure someone out there will find your story useful.

Copyright©2015 MSR Leadership Consultants India. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

This is a nonprofit blog to share Professor M.S.Rao’s passion and vision to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. Please don't cut articles from my blog and redistribute by email or post to the web. The use of this material is free provided copyright is acknowledged and reference or link is made to the Blog http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.in.  This material may not be sold, or published in any form, or used in the provision of business services to a third party without permission.


  1. Professor M.S.Rao is a global leadership guru who is passionate to build one million students as global leaders. He has a huge number of followers globally including in Malaysia. He gave autographs to his fans in Malaysia in August 2015 who bought his award-winning book. '21 Success Sutras for Leaders' which is widely read by leaders and CEOs globally. I enjoy his training programs. I read most of his books. I love his vision. I am proud to be one of his one million global leaders. Jai Hind!