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Another trait of leadership Zinni and Klotz (2009) explore is the ability of a leader to communicate clearly and articulately with the organization and the public. He can no longer afford to be the faceless top of a chain of command. It behooves the modern leader to develop a variety of decision making skills, such as honing his intuition, learning to quickly recognize developing patterns and trends, and quickly communicating his directions and intentions. This also means that today's leader must be able to show the way through times of crisis and change. A leader's ability to calmly steer a course in times of turmoil is crucial to the survival of any enterprise. Finally, a modern leader needs to think and act strategically. He must plan out the future course of action and guide the organization toward achieving the vision he has articulated. He must be able to hold fast to the vision even as he adapts to an ever changing world.
Charlene Li (2010) addresses the changes technology has brought to the way organizational leaders conduct their business. Li talks of a new culture of sharing, in which more and more people are going online accessing social sites and sharing both positive and negative information concerning companies, their products and their policies. Social media has not only empowered customers, but has also given employees a new way to collaborate with each other, as well as new opportunities to publicly grumble about their jobs.
Li (2010) writes about how the information age is influencing today's leaders and managers. She contends one of the results of these new technologies is force leaders to open up and become transparent creating open leadership, which she defines as "having the confidence and humility to be in control while inspiring commitment from people to accomplish goals" (p.14).
She believes that the consequence of open leadership will be the establishment of new relationships that will generate new rules for leaders and how organizations are managed. In today's world, Li (2010) contends, leaders have to respect the notion that customers and employees have power. Once this is accepted as true, leaders can establish a real and more equal relationship with them and strive to build trust. In today's viral environment associations also come from the daily conversations that take place on new technologies like blogs, social networks, and Twitter. The constant successful interchange of people sharing their thoughts, activities and concerns results in relationships. The heart of any successful relationship is trust, which is typically is formed when people do what they say they will do. Furthermore, in order to facilitate open leadership a leader must nurture curiosity and humility. If sharing turns into messaging, and there isn't a free give and take of information, then balance is lost. Expressing curiosity about what someone is doing and why something is important to that person keeps sharing grounded and focused. The natural extension of curiosity is humility, the opportunity to acknowledge you have a lot to learn, and admit when you are wrong. Finally open leadership requires accountability, expectations of the relationship must be defined, and forgiveness.
Things will go wrong and mistakes will be made Li (2010) concedes, but in order keep relationships healthy a leader needs to move on and leave grudges and blame behind. This does not mean that failure is condoned; only that it is acknowledged and understood.
In the difficult and fast paced climate of the world today the relationship between the functions of manager and leader are more complex, with any distinction between the two being somewhat blurred at the edges. It is essential that we recognize what types of skills and approaches people need to apply in order to successes in a particular task, whether it is short-term or long-term. The significance of exploring this issue that it might shed light as to what we mean by the terms manager and leader and contribute to how we train and develop people to gain the appropriate skills.
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Li, C., (2010). Open Leadership: How social technology can transform the way you lead. San Fransico, CA: Jossey-Bass Wiley.
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Zinni, T., & Koltz, T., (2009). Leading the charge: Leadership lessons from…[continue]
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