The Art of Leadership: Success Strategies for 21st Century Leaders
Leadership is not something that should be entered into lightly. The 21st century leader has taken on a new and vibrant mindset compared to the past. Leaders of today are learning that past strategies are tried and proven but need to be overhauled to show and relate to the modern times that we live in. Living in the 21st century and being a leader in these times can be very consuming. So, how does a leader of today navigate through these times and be an effective leader? I am glad that you asked that. Let’s discuss some of the strategies that the 21st century leader can use to be successful and lead their staff’s and even their industries.
Strategy 1: Develop your Vision
Great leaders see their vision before anyone else. You must know where you are going before you can do anything else. As a leader people want to know that you have a direction that you are going in and that they can trust you to get them there. You must be able to effectively communicate your vision to those who follow you so that they can buy into where it is that you are taking them. The passion that you show for your vision is the passion that those who follow you will have as well. Having a vision and seeing it as a leader will give you the ability to keep your focus on the big picture and where it is that you are trying to go. A leader without vision is a leader without purpose. Don’t get caught without your Vision!
Strategy 2: Write your Vision
As a leader you must demonstrate that you not only know where you are going but you have a plan to get everyone there. Writing down your plan to achieve your vision is critical not only for you but for those who you are leading. They must know your strategy and how you intend to get them from where you are to where you want to be. Leaders do not always have the answers but what they do have are the resources to get the answers. Your writing down your vision and plan of action helps to eliminate many of the questions that followers will have and assist you in staying focused on the finish line.
Strategy 3: Work your Vision
Leaders must be willing to put in work. Yes, that means you will have to get your hands dirty sometimes and jump in with those that you lead. Leaders are not afraid to not only tell you what needs to be done but they are willing to show you how it should be done. I know as a leader I have this mantra that I live by..."I will not ask you to do something that I would not do myself." If you are a leader and you are not willing to do what you ask those who work for you or under you then you will find yourself alone. Putting in work means that you stay later than anyone else. Putting in work means that you arrive before everyone else. As a leader there should not be ANYONE that outworks you…period. Leaders motivate their followers. Leaders elevate their work ethic as well as others by motivating them and congratulating their when it's warranted.
Now that you have these 3 strategies for how to be a successful leader in the 21st century, what will you do next...it’s your move now!
Leroy McKenzie Jr., President
This article was originally published in the July 2017 "Leadership Edition" of Entrepreneurs of Color Magazine.