Dr E Charoux

Becoming a leader in our new 21st century is going to be very different to being a leader in the 1970s, 1980s, or even 1990s. One reaches this inevitable conclusion as one surveys the impressive body of literature and reads statements, opinions, thoughts from the world’s leading executives. The leaders of the future will have to perform seven critical role changes. In Part One of this two-part article, we examine the first four critical role changes. Next week, we’ll examine the remaining three.

Change 1: From ‘Small Picture’ to ‘Big Picture’ thinkers

Since the arrival of Newtonian physics in the 17th century, we have been conditioned into believing that we are able to analyse single parts, this would lead us to the understanding of the whole. This reductionistic and mechanistic way of thinking and acting led, regarding the world of management, to theories like those of Taylor’s scientific management which advocated internal competition, control, predictability and relativity.

Tomorrow’s leaders will have to be different: they will have to ‘big picture’ thinkers. In a world where global interdependence will be the order of the day, the ability to think holistically, defined as one’s ability to see underlying trends, common patterns and themes, relationships between events and people, will become crucial. Tomorrow’s leaders in Mauritius will have to be ‘systems thinkers’, to use Peter Senge’s expression. They will have to think holistically and systematically whilst deciphering a massive amount of information which could indicate how local, regional and international factors may benefit or endanger their organisations.

Change 2: From ‘Preservers of Status Quo’ to ‘Change Agents’

Globalization and information technology implies above all change – change at a furious, unrivalled, phenomenal speed. What is today plausible and relevant will become tomorrow both outmoded and superfluous.

Tomorrow’s leaders in Mauritius will have to develop an acute ability to foresee, create and manage change if they wish their organisations to play a significant role in the region. They will have to do so in a manner that energizes and motivates their followers to continuously adapt to their rapidly changing circumstances.

Change 3: From ‘Playing Safe’ to ‘Innovating and Taking Risks’

Where yesterday’s world of work was predictable and safe, with values such as ‘A job for life’ taken automatically for granted, tomorrow’s world be on a constant state of flux. ‘Employability for life’ will become the order of the day and with it, one’s ability to take risks and innovate will become prized personality traits. Not only will Mauritian leaders have to be highly creative individuals but will need in turn to encourage and reward creativity around them. They will have to declare war against mental blocks such as ‘Here we have always done things this way’ and open the doors to taking calculated risks, learning from mistakes, challenging the old ways.

Change 4: From ‘Bosses’ to ‘Coaches and Mentors’

As managers everywhere in our global village are swamped with information, it is clear that their traditional role as the all-powerful and knowledgeable bosses will vanish - to be replaced with one which helps and encourages others to learn and continuously improve their skills. Not only must they become passionate devotees to learning and continuous improvement, but must also, like soccer coaches, motivate, guide, implore, inspire team members until they can all play the game.

The content of this article is intended only to provide general guidelines related to this particular matter. For your specific circumstances, full specialist advice is recommended.