The Dubai based ITP Business Magazine published an article this last weekend by Alex Andarakis, CEO of Middle East drinks giant Aujan, relating some of the challenges of leadership we face today. Returning from a recent forum at the London Business School, he came away with the following lessons and issues:
Strong and successful companies understand that leadership is not the exclusive domain of the chief executive or board of directors. Rather, leadership is a key requirement across all levels within an organisation.
The role of leaders is to constantly, and with large amounts of passion, communicate and raise the profile of ‘meaning', articulating it in a manner that is easily understood and wholly relevant.
Leaders inspire the imagination of a community of followers and believers. Leaders provide their teams and the individuals within them with the strength and motivation to create and maintain momentum throughout the journey of achieving the company’s vision, strategy and targets.
We are increasingly impatient to achieve success: See how the traditional career of 47 hours a week, 47 weeks a year, for 47 years has been replaced by young professionals who put in 60 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for 17 years.
We are increasingly disconnected from any sense of community: Look at the breakdown of families and the disappearance of social clubs and associations.
We are increasingly distrustful of authority: From Enron to WorldCom to Parmalat to Tyco, corporate scandal has slowly eroded trust.
Leaders must drive significance, community, authenticity and trust. They must capture the hearts and minds of their staff – who invest a significant amount of their life in an organization, often at a great cost to their personal and family ties.
Take this challenge: The next time you're sitting in a business class lounge, study the faces of the many gifted individuals around you, wearied from an endless tour of duty for their employers. They are more than just people being paid to do a job; they are individuals with families, friends, hopes and fears; all trying to understand how and what they do will make a difference to others in their community.
Valuing the emotional dimension – and forging an emotional connection – is the key difference between good leaders and great leaders.
Understanding oneself is of paramount importance. If self-knowledge is absent, how can you imagine that you will ever understand your organisation, community or even customers?
Issues such as the authority deficit and the decay of meaningful community will become even more obvious in the coming years as we struggle to deal with them. As we begin to discover the emerging problems related to these issues, we might find that we to reexamine our own attitudes concerning them before anything meaningful can be done to correct the situation.
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