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The future of leadership

To prepare for this essay please read the required articles that is attached then answer the

following questions:

The future of leadership

The foreseeable future for business looks challenging and uncertain. Many factors may contribute to

high volatility:

Financial, security, transport and communications all face unpredictable environments.

In this essay you will analyse the issues that business leaders will face in the future.



Dubrin (2004), described leadership as the art of accomplishing set goals through
communication with other members. Leadership is a social influence process that requires
rallying for the support of other persons with the exclusive endeavour of completing a certain
task. The leadership task is done by leaders, who are the people that are at the forefront of
guiding and directing the team towards certain set objectives (Dubrin, 2004). Leaders are
unique persons, as they possess visionary skills and social intelligence that facilitates them in
doing the right thing and achieving organizational goals. Different leaders are distinguished
amongst their leadership styles, and the visionary school of thought identified two forms of
leadership. These are transformational leadership and transactional leadership (Bass &
Avolio, 2010).

Leaders who exhibit transformational leadership are solely focussed on the concerns
of the fellow team members. Such leaders depict respect, charisma, trust, and above all, a
clear vision for the entire team (Bass & Avolio, 2010). Additionally, such leaders motivate
the team and provide inspiration and intellectual stimulation. They attempt to inspire their
subordinates to build up their individual leadership capacities. It is a reciprocated process
where the leaders and the team members aim at lifting each other to greater heights in terms
of motivation and morality (Bass & Avolio, 2010).

Transactional leaders, on the contrary, are those who reward the members of the team
in terms of their performance and meeting of their set objectives. Transactional leadership
can be equated to the traditional view on leadership, where for subordinates to get any


reward, they need to perform certain duties as stipulated in the contractual agreement
between them and the leader (Bass & Avolio, 2010). This form of leadership has a direct quid
pro quo, where something is exchanged for another hence, the leaders lead via social

Leaders are not only required to create a vision, but they should be the vanguard in
delivering the vision. Creation of an excellent vision requires the amalgamation of tools such
as external environmental analysis (PESTLE), Michael Porter’s Five forces for attaining
competitive advantage, and the SWOT analysis, just to highlight a few (Bass & Avolio,
2010). Businesses are constantly evolving, and both the internal and external environment are
transforming at an alarming rate.

As such, businesses need to have a futuristic orientation, a responsibility accorded to
the leaders of the specific organizations. The near future for businesses is very challenging
and increasingly uncertain. Several factors within the business contribute to this high
volatility (Bass & Avolio, 2010). Among these factors are transport, security,
communications, and the financial environment. Owing to this, future business leadership
requires a precise vision that will facilitate business leaders in tackling the challenges and
issues they are bound to face.

The vision of future business leadership relies fundamentally on four vital
foundations; speed, innovation, internal alignment and executive behaviour (Bigler, 2009).
Speed entails the comprehension of the market rhythm of a firm. It necessitates the
understanding of the tempo of the market, which is usually determined by the purchasing
power, and the buying patterns of clients. Innovation requires that leaders create and maintain
a portfolio of innovative strategies and growth initiatives, as well as be keen on novel
technological advances to prevent being competed out in the future. Internal alignment


concerns the alignment of the market rhythm with operating, executive and support processes
(Bigler, 2009). This results to recurring timing instead of timing that is calendar based for the
entire processes undertaken.

The fourth foundation is executive behaviour (Bigler, 2009). To ensure effectual
leadership, leaders are anticipated to evaluate the rate at which initiatives are launched
successfully, the rate at which they attain their targeted returns, and the rate at which the
market value of the firm is growing. Briefly, they need to evaluate the efficiency,
productivity, and effectiveness of the firm (Bigler, 2009). For overall success, the vision of
future business leadership should rotate amongst these four imperative foundations as these
will counter the envisaged uncertainties and the relatively high volatility in the future
business sphere.

Business leaders face various challenges that are capable of impacting on them in the
future. Among these challenges are the state of the global economy, emerging global mega
trends, uncertainties of long-term prospects, and social contracts and the role of enterprises
(Cooper, 2005). The global economy poses a challenge in consequence of the volatility of the
currency markets. The emerging global mega trends are characterized by customers altering
their tastes and preferences, new commerce, emerging economies, and pervasive computing
(Cooper, 2005). Social contracts and the role of enterprises is a challenge that is bound to
impact businesses in the future since the expanding business environment is progressively
making it almost impossible for businesses to operate in isolation (Cooper, 2005). There is
hence the need to involve other stakeholders in the firm’s operations, and this exposes the
business to externalities and leads to a reduction in profitability.

To tackle the challenge of the global economy, business leaders are required to
spearhead growth and profitability, as well as innovation (Cooper, 2005). In addressing the


issue of the emerging global mega trends, business leaders are required to be led by
technology in order to generate many future opportunities and abundant growth. Uncertainty
of long-term prospects can be countered by the need to have a long-term focus (Cooper,
2005). Long-term focus is a combination of several short-term prospects. Business leaders, as
they aim at addressing the short-term challenges, should also place the firm in a position
where the firm also has a view on the emerging future (Cooper, 2005). The challenge
presented by social contracts and the role of enterprises can be embarked upon by gradual
business expansion to enable the business have several divisions of entire business functions
without compromising on the short-term prospects (Cooper, 2005). This will result to reduced
need for outsourcing, and enhanced profits due to economies of scale.


List of References

BASS, B. M. & AVOLIO, B. J. (2010). Transformational leadership development: Manual
for the multifactor leadership questionnaire, Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo
Alto, California, USA.

BIGLER, W. R. (2009). Strategy execution through executive process innovation: A
longitudinal case example and research model. International Journal of Management
and Enterprise Development, Vol 7, No. 1. 98-123.

COOPER, C. L. (2005). Leadership and management in the 21 st century business challenges
of the future. Oxford, Oxford University.

DUBRIN, A. J. (2004). Leadership research findings, practice, and skills, 4th ed., Houghton
Mifflin Company, Indianapolis, USA.

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