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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 22:45

May 2013 - Leadership in the Age of Information and Innovation

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase”
(Daniel 12:4 NKJ).

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them”
(Isaiah 42:9).

The Shifting Style of Leadership

As technological trends shift and knowledge increases, leadership style must also evolve. At one time, leaders were the storehouses of knowledge, innovation, and decision-making power in an organization. They controlled the flow of information, trained employees how to do their jobs, and authorized others to act.

The top-down leadership approach no longer applies

In an age when workers have just as much information as their managers and possess specialized skills beyond the know how of their bosses, the top-down leadership approach no longer works. What’s more, young employees entering the workforce do not respond well to environments in which they must seek permission from a leader before they can have any kind of input into the job. They’re accustomed to expressing themselves freely by uploading content to YouTube or posting on social media sites.

Today’s young people want their opinions to be heard and their input appreciated. Put them in a position where they must passively await instructions from above and they will quickly search for employment elsewhere. How then do leaders lead in a workplace where they’re no longer the hubs around which an organization revolves?

First and foremost, leaders must have a compelling purpose

Leaders might not be able to command, demand and expect perfect compliance, but instead they can invite others to experience the challenge and fulfillment of accomplishing something worth while. A compelling purpose statement is one that engages the mind and captures the imagination. One that solves problems, helps people, expands God’s kingdom, and is of eternal value. Keep your purpose statement simple so people can remember it, repeat it often, and live it out. The purpose of an organization is like its magnetic north, it pulls everything in that direction.

Secondly, he or she must be a credible leader that others deem worth following

The leading leader must have a good track record of integrity and success. They must know how to recognize a good idea no matter where it comes from. They will listen to their team, sift through all the information and make a wise decision. The ability to decipher what will work and what won't, comes from years of experience and maturity. Good leaders have more than one leadership style and they know how to adapt their leadership style to the different situations they find themselves in.

“What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”
(1Corinthians 4:21)

In other words the Apostle Paul was saying, when I come to you, my leadership style is changeable—based on the given situation.

Thirdly, leaders can transmit values to their teams to clarify the decision-making process.

In today’s complex world, rules and procedures are not enough to guide a staff member in exercising judgment. Nor can a lone leader insist on handling all of the decisions that need to be made. Trying to do so would create a bottleneck, and at the same time take power away from the team.

The solution for leaders is to model a set of core values and then highlight their significance clearly and repeatedly. In time, as those values prove their merit, team members will adopt them and filter their decisions through the established values. Jesus—the leader of all leaders—lived His life in front of His disciples, modeled His message while molding their lives, and turned them into world changers and history makers. And He did this in only three years!

Fourthly, in a world that is superficially networked and connected, leaders can offer real, meaningful, working relationships.

Today, many people have thousands of virtual “friends” on Facebook, yet they experience intense isolation due to the absence of genuine, real-world relationships. They’re linked-in yet feel left out. As a result, they’re attracted to leaders who authentically care about their well-being. Take time to be with your people, be interested in them, and let them know you care.

Jesus led mainly by example and relationship. Even in the age of information and innovation this kind of leadership style still works best.

Encouraging you to be like Jesus—a leader worth following!

DrGeorgeLeadershipLGDr George Hill
President and Founder