Business, in today’s world, is more about bringing people together than ever before. With such global interconnectedness, advanced technologies and high-speed communications, leaders have been relinquished of some of the leg-work that has vanished with the past. Similarly, our world has shifted away from mainstream culture toward niche markets and tight-knit communities.
Combine the two, and leaders now face a new objective: to support team players in their endeavours whilst keeping an eye on the prize. What’s the prize?: infiltrating the niche markets that now have more access to your company’s product than ever before.
As a leader upholding your business’s vision, you play a central role in connecting the many ways that innovative employees might contribute to building networks of support to your company’s overarching goals.
With this shifting role of the leader, it might be time to reassess your inner leader to see if he is up to the challenge. Here are 7 questions to ask yourself, to keep your inner leader on-track for the 21st century:
1) Are you investing in the relationships between you and those you lead?
Every day, the lines between the personal and professional, the virtual and the actual, get blurrier. Online social networks like LinkedIn and Google+ provide virtual platforms for our professional lives; e-mail inboxes are meccas for both casual conversation and official exchanges. As the boundaries of workplace culture transform, you don’t want to be stuck behind hard lines of what we once thought of as professionalism. Now more than ever, good relationships between co-workers make for good business.
2) Are you open to learning and listening?
As small networks and communities come into focus as targets for business, it is crucial to remain open-minded and open-eared. Business leaders are no longer working for the masses: Our visions, goals and products are now intended to reach specific groups of people with unique and tailored concerns, visions and goals of their own.
Not only do business leaders need to listen to their audiences, but likewise to their team members. In today’s world, perspective is everything. Where there is a consumer who wants a triple-shot non-dairy cappuccino with fair trade nutmeg served in a mason jar, there is someone who knows just how to give it to them. You cannot be everything, so use the resources you have by staying open-minded and listening to those you lead.
3. Are you taking risks?
While these fast-changing technologies and sub-cultures are daunting at times, they also provide us with some wiggle room for taking chances. Today, it’s the innovative who succeed big, because they are willing to risk a certain amount of failure. Think about your comfort zone, and the willingness of those you lead to take risks, to see if you’re taking advantage of the trial-and-error mentality of this technological age.
Most importantly, don’t let your inner leader get bored or complacent. Ask yourself questions that make you think about your decision-making strategies, your motivational skills and your ability to conjure up support for your own business endeavours and those of your team members. Ask your inner leader to consider new ideas and perspectives that will bring people together to succeed.