The concept and duties of a leader have undoubtedly changed over time. Scholars now view leadership as being more complicated than ever and anything but what they used to view it as before (which was pretty straightforward).
The “new wave” approach to leadership involves a great deal of adjustment (on the leaders part) to adapt their methods of leading to the situation they are in. This is often referred to as “situational” or “contingency” theories of leadership. It suggests that leaders have different situations that they work best in. For example, a task-oriented leader will, in theory, work better under extreme conditions. A people-oriented leader performs best when faced with making decisions. Here are some of the other crucial ways leadership has evolved in the 21st century.
A Greater Focus on the Followers
What makes a very successful leader nowadays is the ability to engage and motivate the follower. They share in discussion and decision-making with the follower and empower them to take more responsibility. In many cases, the leader is looking to develop leadership qualities in the follower to foster more independence- the end goal being to maximize the performance of the whole.
Empowered Followers and Decentralized Decision Making
Leaders now look to empower followers so the can efficiently make their own decisions and take action on what needs to be done. The goal is to get them to a point where they can take action without consulting the leader. Followers become responsible for sharing more of the company’s duties with the leader.
The Complexity of Leadership
Due to the increase in technology and, therefore, the increase of interconnectivity internationally and throughout the world leadership has become much more complex. Leadership used to be referred to as management and was much more straightforward across the board than the leadership styles of today. Now you can expect a leader to be much more involved both mentally and emotionally since there is bigger emphasis on the emotional well-being of the followers in order to achieve optimum success and satisfaction.
Many things have changed with the evolution of leadership and thankfully seem to be for the better. Leaders are more involved and willing to forge more meaningful relationships with their followers that ultimately leads to a more fulfilling experience for everyone involved.