Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Leadership styles are old school

Have you heard the school of thought that suggests different leaders have different styles? The autocratic, the empowering, the whatever...

That's so the year 2000 and things have changed. A 21st Century Leader needs to have capabilities, not styles. In a fast changing world you need to adapt and flex your style. To have a signature style that is known by others is to advertise that you lack the ability to adjust fast enough in the modern fast change environment.

To me, a personal leadership style that you live into is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don't name your style, don't have a style, instead, develop your capabilities as a 21st Century Leader.

Here are 16 Capabilities I think the 21st Century Leader at any level needs to develop. Consider this your personal development plan as a leader.

It's not cool to have a leadership style. It's better to have broad capabilities.



  1. Love it Matt. Yes, yes, yes. Flexibility, broad capabilities and adapting to the context, the situation and the people to be the 21st century leader.
    Thank you.

  2. Great stuff Matt. Love your models in general. Really like this one!

  3. Working on the Tht-Ldershp principle of ...and/but... I Agree; flexibility is a leadership virtue. But nope; 16 is far too many competencies for the human hard-wired brain to deal with (cognitive load theory). If everything is important than none are important.

    I get that the stuff on the right side of the diagram is left brained oriented competencies and the left side is right brained competencies. What confuses me a little is that "inspire" is more a leadership trait and "inform" a management trait.

    So I don't get the inclusion of typical management type competencies like "allocate tasks and manage responsibilities".

    Are you saying that leaders are uber-managers? I agree that leadership is learning how to cope and adapt with "rapid" change, but isn't management all about coping, bringing order and predictability to the complexity of a (typically business) situation.

  4. I get where you are going with this Churchy. I like it lots. I might have read it a bit differently to Mark...I dont see your diagram as a prescription, but as you said, a plan. Plans are meant to be changed if they dont fit.
    There are many more things a 21st Century leader may need beyond the 16 you have proposed, but thats the point...be adaptable and add/subtract them from the plan.

  5. what does "manage the ecology of culture" mean?

    what's a "conversion culture"?