21st Century Leadership in Hostile Environments - Nu Leadership Series


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”Wealth in the new regime flows directly from innovation, not optimization; that is, wealth is not gained by perfecting the known, but by imperfectly seizing the unknown. ” Kevin Kelly

Organizations cannot be complacent in a tough, 21st century environment. Leadership positioning is often temporary in a rapid, economic environment; therefore, organizational leaders must be both innovative and flexible in the market. Management expert Ducker maintain that industry leadership is temporary and any momentum gain is followed by diffusion. Employees are looking for leadership to lead the way.

First, leaders must be team builders. Current scholars suggest that an effective team leader may be the primary ingredient for team success; therefore, it is essential to understand the role of leaders within teams to avoid any failures. Second, emerging leaders in 21st century organizations must possess the necessary traits to help the team achieve effectiveness. Given this perspective, leaders are viewed as team-based problem solvers who attempt to achieve goals by analyzing the internal and external situations and then selecting and implementing the appropriate behavior to ensure team success.

Finally, leaders must model the way by “practicing what they preach. ” Simons argues that leaders who fail to match actions in line with their words will be considered untrustworthy and not credible with followers. Losing crediblity will cost a leader dearly if he wants an effective organization. Kouzers and Posners, authors of Credibility, maintain that the increase in cynicism in the workplace is due the decline of credibility among executives in organizations. Therefore, credibility counts if a leader wants loyalty and commitment from employees.


Drucker, P. (1964). Managing for Results. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2003). Credibility. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Northouse, P. (2004). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Simons, T. (1999). Behavioral integrity as a critical ingredient for transformational leadership. Journal of Organizational Change Management. 12(2), pp. 89-104.

Yukl, G. (2002). Leadership in organizations. Delhi, India: Pearson Education, Inc.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green

Daryl D. Green has published over 100 articles in the field of decision-making (personal and organizational), leadership, and organizational behavior. Mr. Green is also the author of four books, including More than a Conqueror: Achieving Personal Fulfillment in Government Service. Do you want to improve your life? Do you want to make better decisions? If you answer “yes, " then go to master decision-making website at http://www.darylgreen.org


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