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A new generation of leaders

The world famous executive coach Marshall Goldsmith published an article in which he distinguishes five characteristics which are supposed to be linked to the new generation of leaders. These are: ‘think globally’, ‘appreciating global diversity’, ‘demonstrating technological savvy’, ‘building partnerships and alliances’ and ‘sharing leadership’. Of course this doesn’t mean that the old characteristics like being result driven, being customer oriented and integrity aren’t valid any more. According to Goldsmith the new characteristics are a supplement to the old ones.

If we look deeper into the characteristics, we can see that (for instance) international thinking is essential. Partly because of e-commerce and the internet, a drastic change in the production and marketing of goods is going on. Future leaders have to think and act beyond the country borders if they want to be able to compete in the future.

The second characteristic is to learn to utilise cultural diversity. We can see that the Dutch workforce has more cultural diversity than ever before. The challenge for the new generation of leaders is to understand other cultures and religions and use that in their behaviour as a leader. For instance, in the Anglo-Saxon culture praising someone in public is one of the highest compliments, while in other cultures the interpretations could be quite different. Leaders who know and implement this can use it to gain an advantage over others.

Integrating technology at work. The new leader will have to be first to integrate new technology in his own work to become a role model for the rest of the company. And I mean beyond the level of just gadgets. But in reality, if the ‘front man’ hasn’t enough expertise in new technological opportunities, his company is going to fall behind its competition. Integrated technology will claim a larger role in the upcoming years, in business and privet.

The old way of thinking in terms of competition (enemies) and clients (have to be brought in) has changed. The future is for alliances. New ways of ‘networking’ have developed in the market. The classical organisation with employees and a market of competition, clients and prospects is more and more often replaced with opportunity alliances. Building a professional network and searching for the win-win situation has become more and more important to stay successful. The new leader should be daring to think like that, must be willing to invest in a professional network and be able to create it.

Finally, sharing leadership. This may apply more to professional corporations and less to production companies. When more partnerships come to being with partners and associates, leadership will get a whole other character. From future leaders we can expect that they can commit people to a company on other grounds than money. There is a whole group of professionals that chooses the company at which they feel most at home. The new leader uses that to gain an advantage over the competition.


By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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