This article compasses three parts: Section – A deals with choosing two issues that confront today’s leaders. Section – B consists of references from prestigious publications on the chosen subject. Section – C deals with the leadership theory and the traits of a leader.
A) The environment issue of global warming, depleting forests, changing climates
B) Managing Change in a technology world
Section –B: Chosen articles on the twin issues in esteemed publications
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/29/your-money/29iht-mweather.2977009.html is an article on the financial impact of climate change.
Tony Blair views on the rapidly changing world http://www.depauw.edu/news/index.asp?id=21073
http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/01/24/harvard-adjusts-mba-program-to-changing-times/ discusses Harvard adjustments to the fast changing world and how their curriculum has been given a facelift.
There are a lot of entrepreneurs who venerate Steve Jobs as this article portrays http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/08/25/the-entrepreneurs-who-look-to-steve-jobs/?KEYWORDS=Leadership+in+technology+world
a) Servant leadership is based on the premise of wanting to serve first which sharply contrasts with leadership first. Here the accent is on service and how beneficial it is for the community regardless of the urge to lead and dictate. Leaders in Climate Change mostly hail from non-profit organizations and volunteers who are concerned about the rapid downslide in the environment. The extreme weather patterns from Hurricane Katrina to temperature swings in Europe to Tsunamis in Asia; this is one global phenomenon and the planet shows all the signs of being ill. The cause of climate change is manmade and a lifestyle simply not sustainable. Al Gore showed remarkable leadership in raising the awareness of people on a worldwide scale with his movie,” An inconvenient truth.” The corporate world too has pitched in with green initiatives of its own. There are agencies like Climate Counts that rank companies on their commitment to environment. Microsoft has a private transportation system for its employees to reduce carbon expended in commuting. It has replaced its synthetic cafeteria products with compostable cups and plates. Another Seattle based company; Boeing is producing more fuel-efficient with its new product, Dreamliner. This is built with more composite materials, more fuel efficient and lesser emissions with jets of comparable class.
There is a growing realization that natural resources – water, gas, energy etc are not inexhaustible. The need of the day is to work with nature than against it. Servant leadership comes into play by saying that I will take action first without insisting on others. Let me do my bit as an individual, company, or a country. The health of the planet is too dear to play politics with never ending committees debating on the next course further.
The corporate life as we know as totally impacted by technology. There is no more of jobs of a 9 to 5 but it extends 24 hours with technology part of everyday life. Today CEOs need to hooked to the happenings on a global scale; the markets are global, customers from every region and any development has the potential of changing the ground rules. Steve Jobs of Apple was a legend who displayed leadership almost to a folklore. His battle with cancer, getting fired, his perfectionist’s streak in giving the ultimate user-friendly products to the customer has made both Steve Job the darling of the bourses and Apple the company consumers’ love best. Any industry where technology plays a major part, is a field with replete given by rapid changes. It calls for leaderships skills of quick response, adaptability, and a lot of intuition.
b) All the leadership literature emphasis the traits of a leader though different leadership models may suit different occasions. The ability to influence another human being is perhaps the most crucial. As one begins communicate better, show greater empathy, their influence in the society starts to grow.
Jimmy Carter’s influence has steadily grown since his President days as he continues to play a remarkable role in the world. As General Norman Schwarzkopf states: “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.”
According to Burns, transformational leadership is when leaders and followers enable each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation. Through strong sense of vision and personality, transformational leaders inspire followers towards common goals. They are able to infuse trust and respect from their followers.
Lee Iacocca is a transformational leader for resurrecting Chrysler Corporation from the brink of collapse. He brought his turnaround by transforming the mindsets of his subordinates. That fostered in self-belief and reshaped the corporation’s culture into believing its relevance in the auto market. Iacocca’s personality was such that he acted as a catalyst as others took on more responsibility and filling in leadership roles. Mahatma Gandhi too created followers who went on to become good leaders. Transformational leadership empowers; it acts as a mentor. Climate change leaders too would have to transform the followers into a series of higher goals till the policy makers’ wake up to the grim reality.
c) Most outstanding leaders of our age have been blessed with a vision the future and the enthusiasm to make it happen.
Diana and Mother Teresa portray that real leadership is about the influence a leader wields on a public cause. Who can ever forget Diana rallying people for medical causes like AIDS, care for people with leprosy, and a ban on land mines? She brought these issues into limelight that the administration had to take note. And when she died there were more than 2.5 billion people when her funeral was broadcasted. Mother Teresa was a saint in her own lifetime and her image of tendering the poor are pictures that tug the heart. She took compassion to a level that almost made one’s skin leap out of its sphere. Again “Service first” and no position or recognition or power sought for oneself.
So be it “leadership” on climate change or adapting to fast changing world in which technology defines our work and social space there is need for leaders to inspire a community to gets its act together. The crisis is on opportunity to emerge stronger and the benefit to humanity.
Ari Kiev sums up,” Everyone wants to feel that he counts for something and is important to someone. Invariably, people will give their love, respect, and attention to the person who fills that need.” Such leaders are the call of our times.
Maxwell, John (2002). Leadership 101: What every leaders needs to know. Nashville: Thomas Nielson
Company Scorecard. Climatecounts.org. Retrieved from http://www.climatecounts.org/scorecard_score.php?co=38
Hay, Ian. Transformational Leadership: Characteristics and Criticisms. Retrieved from http://www.leadingtoday.org/weleadinlearning/transformationalleadership.htm
Tichy, N.M. & Devanna, M.A. (1986). The Transformational Leader. New York,
NY: John Wiley.