Strengths & Weaknesses of Contemporary Leadership

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What makes a great leader? Is it a certain number of social media followers? Is it the way he or she empowers their team? Is it via election or a number of votes? We know that just because someone is thrust into a leadership role, it does not make them a strong or effective leader. In today's ever-changing society there are a number of strengths and weaknesses of contemporary leadership. One contemporary leadership trend, in particular, is transformational leadership. This works under the premise that the leader should work with his or her followers or subordinates to achieve common goals and changes.

Values Ethical Behavior

In leadership study by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, A study on leadership was done by leadership development consultants, they questioned leaders in over 30 organizations based in 15 different countries. 195 of the organizations' leaders were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership traits from a list of 74. Of all the qualities of a leader, high ethical and moral standards were chosen by 67 percent of the leaders as the most important. Leaders possessing attributes that led to creating a safe environment came in second in the study.

Empowers and Encourages Employees

We know that empowered employees are more productive and happier which leads to better client and customer service and an overall higher level of job satisfaction and commitment. However, many leaders tend to micro-manage and struggle with delegating, mainly because they want to prevent mistakes and avoid any negative consequences from those mistakes. Encouraging your employees and team members to take responsibility for projects and related decision-making will lead to more engaged employees and a sense of ownership over their work.

Uses the Power of Charisma to Inspire Others

Many successful leaders are charismatic. They know how to bring out the positive attributes in others and are committed to helping them build their strengths. Today's contemporary leadership trends all point to authenticity and vulnerability in both words and action. Leaders are only human, and while there is more room for mistakes due to the transparency of technology and social media, successful leaders own up to their failures and move on. When leaders are able to be authentic, their colleagues and team members are allowed to do the same which is likely to bring a better solution or innovations to the table.

Value Communication and Transparency

A strong leader is a savvy communicator. They acknowledge their power and influence and know when certain mediums, whether it's the press, social media or person-to-person is the best approach. They value transparency and while not always easy, they understand that the more honest and generous they can be with their time and philosophies, the more their message will reach mass appeal.

Creates a Vision

Transformational leaders are visionary and motivate others in a direction that will be beneficial and important for all involved. Their enthusiasm can often be contagious and encourages people to jump on board with the vision that is being presented. And while these contemporary leaders have the passion and vision to carry a mission forward, they can often miss important details due to their big-picture thinking. Often visionaries will need detail-oriented types of people to carry out and execute the vision to achieve tangible results. Without strong day-to-day management, organizations can quickly stray from the path that leads to their stated goals. Visionaries may be inspirational, but they generally need grounding from more prosaic partners to succeed.

A charismatic and visionary leader may find great success and be able to help people accomplish many important things. But keep in mind that the powerful influence a leader has may backfire if that person is self-serving or immoral. Leaders must speak clearly and ensure their actions follow suit.

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About the Author

Liz Gold has been published in a variety of capacities writing about everything from Kennebunkport and southern Maine municipal government, art and cultural events, to cloud technology and business transformation. Her experience extends to both corporate and freelance; she's a former Senior Editor at the B2B publication Accounting Today, writing about public accounting firms with a specialization in diversity, technology, best practices, and business development. During her tenure, she was also co-founder and editor of AccountingTomorrow, a blog focused on intergenerational workplace issues that is still thriving today. Most recently, Liz has been writing about accountants working in the cannabis industry on CPA Trendlines and reporting on cannabis trends for Southern Oregon Good Herb magazine in Oregon.