Have you ever thought about categorizing your leader according to his or her type of leadership? If you had, I hate to admit in all honesty that I never gave it a thought until I enrolled myself in a short free course offered by Charles Sturt University titled ‘Being a Manager-Leader in a VUCA world’. In fact I did not realize that leadership is a component of management and that there are differences between a leader and a manager even though to become a good leader one has to be an effective manager; the differences being that the former inspires, motivates others to follow and commit to a clear vision whereas the latter allocates work, resources to team members, controls systems, handles budgets and processes besides staff.
Contemporary theories of leadership such as Servant Leadership, e-Leadership, Moral Leadership and Eco Leadership emphasize that leadership is a shared space wherein conceptual, human and technical attributes are required to function in this turbulent world. In this age of economic and robotic revolution, significance is attached more to human and conceptual skills than to technical skills if you are in a managerial or leadership position. In other words, human skills such as communication, collaboration, adaptability, empathy, commitment to ecological and social sustainability etc. gain predominance over other skills. In the VUCA world, where the practice of leadership depends upon globalization, innovation, digitization, working with telecommuting, Virtual teams etc., servant leadership is the preferred type.
Servant leaders not only put their self interests aside to serve their subordinates’ and organizations’ goals and needs but are ready to give away power, ideas, recognition, credit etc., as they value ideas of trust, sharing power with people, recognizing and supporting others and encouraging creativity and innovation. VUCA leaders harness collaboration, innovation, creativity and varying individual strengths for transformational outcomes. Even if one were to argue that different leadership strategy suit different businesses, one cannot deny the need for a differentiation strategy in an organization, especially in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment . Authentic purpose, value discipline and adaptability culture combined with rewards, more intrinsic than extrinsic, should be the organizational culture for a competitive advantage as innovative and creative people are not afraid to fail.