Executive leadership definition has not changed; it is the ability of those who manage or direct employees in an organization to influence and guide these individuals. The focus and approach has changed.
Leadership in the twentieth century was focused on directive, top-down management. It was based on positional power, the executive leader was the boss. Companies learned to rely on and effectively use technology during 2020. People changed their perceptions of careers and the workplace. Command-driven leadership is no longer as effective.
Mark Cannon, Professor at Vanderbilt, definition reflects a shift in the approach to leadership in business. “Executive leadership is managing ourselves to make the most of our capabilities in evolving circumstances, “Part of executive leadership is better enabling employees to lead themselves,” Cannon explains. “It is about leveraging what you can do as a leader by thinking beyond yourself. You maximize what others have to offer and deliver the best outcome.”
Executive leadership in the 21st Century requires a more human approach. It requires creating a workplace that provides more flexibility for employees to do their jobs, and where employees and the company can flourish and succeed. Making corporate decisions based upon past data or past experiences helped predict outcomes in times of certainty. Making decisions when unpredictable events disrupt multiple aspects of “business as normal” requires leaders to develop strategies without seeing all possible options. In the 21st Century company leaders need agility to navigate economic disruptions and rapid change.
Leaders at the executive level need to prioritize their own leadership development in order to assess the best course of action based on self-knowledge. Changing an established mindset and approach is challenging. Business coaches, webinars, workshops and courses are available to facilitate this shift in the approach to executive leadership.
Coach Ash and Lisa Pickett are the featured guests at Women Cultivating Success – Conversations with Women in the Cannabis Industry.