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             17 November, 2019
 

    
Category:  Articles » Business » Change Management

 

21st Century Leadership - Making it easy for followers

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2009-12-30 06:12:08     
Article by Dr Neil Miller

The best leaders make it easy for people to follow them. People follow leaders who provide clear direction by making it easy to know what is happening, and what they need to do, when and with whom.

Leaders need people to work together to achieve business goals. In the past, web and mobile technology was not a significant tool for leaders.

However advances in web and mobile technology can now make it significantly easier to provide the direction and feedback followers need, in close to real-time, from anywhere, at any time. Consequently it is expected that leaders who embrace new technologies will achieve significantly more than those who rely on largely manual methods.

In the 20th century when followers were largely collocated and could interact with leaders on an as required basis, leaders could personally ensure that relevant people knew what was happening and knew what to do. However in the 21st century, timely personal interactions are extremely difficult. People are more dispersed, changes are more frequent and rapid, overwhelming amounts of information are available, and a wide range of work practices are employed.

If followers don't know what a leader wants done, they will default to do the things that please the people around them, because this way they can achieve positive feedback. A leader can achieve business goals in a minimum time with minimum effort by making it clear what needs to be done, maintaining focus and checking that it has been done.
In the 20th century leaders could get away with providing general direction and imposing themselves into situations when they felt people were straying from their direction. In the 21st century, this "make it up as you go along" approach will be extremely difficult and stressful to sustain. The leader's personal influence will need to be distributed to all followers at a time and place that suits the follower, not the leader.

While 20th century leadership relied on little technology to provide direction, focus and to keep relevant people informed; 21st century leadership will need to effectively use technology to develop and sustain enough direction for people to follow. Without real-time influence at the time and place that a follower requires; leaders will find it extremely difficult to influence what is being done.

Without appropriate technologies, leaders will default to asking people what is happening and then trying to influence what they are doing. This continual asking what is happening causes a rapid breakdown in trust between the leader and followers. Followers become defensive and leaders become frustrated, so they seek more information that further reduces trust.

Fortunately for leaders there is a relatively simple solution to keep yourself and relevant people informed and to ensure that people know what to do, when and with whom. It involves using a mix of traditional methods with the use of technology to sort out and present critical information at the time and place required by the leader and relevant followers.

Dr Neil Miller has developed and validated these methods over 10 years. The web and mobile technology required to make the methods easy to apply globally are now readily available to most leaders and followers. So the time is right for leaders and followers to use technology to make it easy to know how to best contribute to keep work flowing to achieve business goals with a minimum of time and effort.
By,
Dr Neil Miller

Specialized in: Business Goals - Web Software - Mobile Technology - Time Management - Change Management
URL: http://www.taskey.com
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