What are the characteristics of effective leadership for the 21st Century?
From the very start, this essay focuses on two major aspects related directly to the modern, effective leader/leadership ->
I. A leader`s profile and the differences between a Leader and a Manager
II. Youth – A Leader as a Social Entrepreneur
Nowadays, when we talk about leadership among young people, we relate to leadership through the eyes of sustainable initiatives.
I. But, first and foremost, what is actually a Leader?
Myles Munroe (Becoming A Leader, “Everyone Can Do It” ~ author and president of the International Leadership Training Institute) offers you the following definition – Leaders are ordinary people who accept or are placed under extraordinary circumstances that bring forth their latent potential, producing a character that inspires the confidence and trust of others.
So, a leader is mostly a visionary creative thinker, a change maker and an avant-garde persona and … can be anyone!
In the process of really understanding and commit to a leadership position, we ought to analyze the differences between a leader and a manager directly related to a project structure .
Leader vs. Manager ->
1. Essence –> leader = change ~ manager = stability
2. Rules -> leader = breaks them (in a constructive, positive way) ~ manager = makes them
3. Approach -> leader = sets directions ~ manager = plans details
4. Culture -> leader = shapes it ~ manager = executes it
5. Conflict -> leader = uses it ~ manager = avoids it
6. Direction -> leader = plans new paths ~ manager = uses already exiting paths
7. Credit -> leader = gives it ~ manager = takes it
8. Decisions -> leader = facilitates/builds them ~ manager = makes them
9. Vision -> leader = sells it ~ manager = tells it
10. Style -> leader = transformational ~ manager = transactional
All these characteristics inside the structure offer us a concrete/simple overview of a team-working frame, put us on thinking about our (possible) role that we already have or want to have for an amazing project.
II. What about a young individual? Does he/she has this dream of becoming a Leader? Is it necessary? Why and how? Of course is beyond than necessary that we see more and more young people active socially, getting involved in communities` issues and development.
Is it happening everywhere? Unfortunately it doesn`t happen in every country, because it depends on each national educational frame and the potential that this particular system can bring into the learning process. Only innovation in education can form a healthy system, a conscious and active citizen, great leaders and amazing projects.
Even though youth is the main character in this equation, societies are still having problems in understanding and committing to an optimal development of this generation.
Why do we need young leaders and active youth communities?
~ Because youth is probably the first resource societies are wasting and in order to change this, young people need to take their future in hands.
~ Because young people are the best observers, seeing the Global crisis as not only economic, but also social, political, environmental, educational and of identity.
~ Because young people consider that social and ecological issues are the keys to understand the present and the future to build. Science and technologies have to be considered in this respect, but they have to relate more to people, to citizens becoming part of development.
~ Because young people refuse to continue being spectators of their time, but rather persue in being actors, part of the decision-making process and actions that affect their lives and societies as wholes.
~ Because young people have understood that change can only happen collectively.
~ Therefore, along with becoming a leader/actor/accomplished citizen, naturally comes the dialogue with other individuals, organizations, networks … a dialogue that needs to be actively sustained and supported.
Related to these main social characteristics/needs, the contemporary leader CAN NO LONGER BE OUT of the `sustainable frame` … the contemporary leader becomes a social entrepreneur.
Here are the features of a social entrepreneur/leader –
• The contemporary stamp of the present global transition times is now shifted towards sustainability and conscious consumption.
• This is contemporary business, a new economical model.
• At global level, more and more already existing businesses are shifting their pattern to the new sustainable one that is contributing to societies` optimal development and are acting more in favor of a social impact rather than on making profit.
• Therefore, unlike traditional business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs primarily seek to generate a social value to their societies and a long-term change.
• A social entrepreneur is a conscious citizen that recognizes a social issues and provides new innovative ideas and solutions to deal with that issue.
• A social entrepreneur sees opportunities that others are blind at and, throughout their visionary thinking, they improve systems, they invent, develop and disseminate new methods and approaches that are creating social values.
• A social entrepreneur is a determined, committed and persuasive individual that is following his dream by directly taking care of himself, his environment and clearly his people and future generations.
• A social entrepreneur aims to produce a considerably measurable social impact.
• A social entrepreneur develops paths to wisdom in the social context, by both acting for the marginalized and disadvantaged categories and encouraging creativity and visionary thinking by seeing and `attacking` the full potential of a society.
• Simply said, a social entrepreneur/leader/enterprise seeks to serve a community’s interest more than maximizing the profit.
• A social enterprise can develop in all social sectors ~ education, environment, arts and culture, disadvantage people etc. by contributing to social employment, cohesion and inequalities` reduction.
• A social entrepreneur is a change maker, a LEADER.
• Social entrepreneurs identify resources where people only see problems. They view the villagers as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving. ~ David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas.