Do We Need Leaders?–A Response

The other day I noticed a question on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to that asked the question: Do We Need Leaders? It is one of those questions that does make you think. To many it might seem sort of a foregone conclusion, of course we need leaders, I mean how would difficult things get accomplished? Yet there is a rising tide of thought that says perhaps the concept of leaders may very have run its course. Consider Bill George’s words in a 2007 BusinessWeek article entitled, Where Have All the Leaders Gone? In speaking about today’s knowledge workers, George writes:

“Their approach to leadership is entirely different . . . They don’t care about position,
power or status or organizational hierarchy, or even having followers. Instead, they are superb networkers who find collaborators to create opportunities and businesses. They are on line 24/7 always networking; always in touch . . . The emerging leaders are knowledge workers who typically know more than their bosses. They collaborate with people who have skills they don’t, growing up with diversity as the norm, they understand the benefits of a diverse people working together to solve the world’s most pressing problems.”

No wonder people are asking, Do We Really Need Leaders? From where I sit, I think leaders are absolutely essential to any organizational mix. But their roles as leaders have changed. No longer order givers where others just follow their demands, today’s 21st century leaders have evolved into initiators of the process of leadership–architects, if you will, of a collaborative environment that brings together a mix of diverse talents focusing action and energy into a force for transforming change.

Complexity drives the need for collaboration and a 21st century leader faces complexity each and every day.  Moreover, 21st Century leaders no longer view followers as such, but as partners in dealing with difficult challenges. It is not easy, but I really can’t see any other way, can you?

About DrjohnD

Dr. John Dentico is a leadership development and simulation learning expert who speaks, writes, consults and trains 21st Century leaders. He is the founder of LeadSimm LLC a one-of-a-kind 21st Century leadership development and simulation learning company. With more than 30 years of experience in leadership, learning and simulation design and development, he is convinced that there is no problem too hard, no challenge too great, and no issue too complex that it cannot be solved by the collaborative actions of a focused group of committed people. For the past 17 years he has worked to create active learning, experientially based simulation learning opportunities for a variety of clients who are charged with overcoming some of the most intractable issues and challenges America faces. With his LeadSimm Leadership Development Simulation exercises he has powerfully demonstrated time and again that action breeds hope and that people working together as full partners fueled by a mutual mission, shared vision and common goals are a force to be reckoned with. He understands that the best way to learn leadership is to practice leadership in as close to the real world decision making environment as possible because then and only then will a potential leader learn how to create a "leadership dynamic", the real power of a 21st Century organization.
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