4 Key Traits of the 21st Century Leaders

key traits leadership

Everyone has traits suited for specific tasks, such as leadership. The problem is trying to decipher what those leadership key traits which define a true leader are. The following are four key traits of 21st-century leaders you should be aware of.

1. Adaptability is Vital

It is important to recognize that what used to work for leaders no longer works now. That strong, overwhelming way of managing used to work in the 1950s but not today. Effective management traits have been evolving for some time, and one of the most desirable traits is adaptability.

Today’s leader needs to be ready to change, even when change does not seem necessary. Technology has made business move in all sorts of directions and made it possible for businesses to be more competitive. This makes complacency very dangerous because it could leave businesses behind, which could stifle companies in various ways.

The adaptability trait not only helps a leader adapt to changes; it can also be weaponized to anticipate the next big change, which should help increase the chances of success.

2. Connectivity Matters Today

The next leadership key trait that today’s leaders need to master is the ability to empathize with their workforce. Generations Y and Z are some of the most self-aware generations out there. They know how important they are to a shrinking workforce, so figuring out a way to keep skilled personnel in-house is even more important.

One thing that is important is leaders learn to exhibit the traits young workers respect, such as authenticity, accessibility, and genuine respect. It does not take long to realize that exhibiting these types of traits should change the culture within an office or place of business.

The ideal culture does not promote stress, which is possible by simply being genuine and transparent. Today’s young workers worry about the businesses they are employed by, and secrecy makes this young workforce suspicious. Leaders need to fight this in order to keep good talent in-house as much as possible.

3. Selflessness is Key

There was a time when business leaders were effective because they were dogmatic in their resolve. In essence, many leaders were selfish because they usually only cared about fulfilling their vision without second guessing it.

While this might have worked years ago, it has caused a bit of a crisis. People are having trouble believing leaders, which is being felt in various fields, such as education, religion, and politics, not just business. One way to regain people’s confidence is to value selflessness a little more.

The key is figuring out how to be a selfless leader, and it is possible. For example, the idea of being married to a particular vision or idea needs to die. Leaders should focus on the overall purpose of the business, which is success. Being able to let go of an idea or goal and replace it with something that will help the business’ purpose is good.

That is just one thing leaders need to be able to do, but there are other things leaders can focus on, like increasing worker benefits, health care, wellness, and improving retirement plans.

4. Decisiveness is Good

Things are changing in business quite rapidly. It would be nice to have time to discuss possibilities, but the reality is today’s leaders do not have that luxury. It is important for today’s leaders to be able to make decisions on the spot or relatively quickly.

Indecisiveness could hurt a business because businesses need to be competitive with others. No one is saying a leader should just trust his or her intuition alone. Technology is still here to help a leader make more informed decisions, but the decision needs to be made quickly.

In essence, 21st century leaders need to be able to streamline their analytical skills in order to keep up with the way business is moving today.

These are some of the important leadership key traits that modern leaders need in order to effectively move companies forward. Of course, these are just a few traits that should be developed, but there are others, such as creativity and the ability to be collaborative just to name a few.

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

1 Comment

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