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Context is the key to 21st century leadership

May 16, 2014

The following excerpt from a recent story written by Global Institute for Leadership Development  faculty member Tamara J. Erickson shares insights on leading in the 21st century that we all need to understand.—Ed.

“…Today, leadership is less about being the best than about creating a context in which others can succeed. Through my research, I have defined four key roles of a contextual leadership:

“Building the organization’s collaborative capacity: ‘Wiring’ the organization, literally and figuratively, in ways that allow the easy flow of information and ideas throughout.

Disrupting with diversity: Ensures an organization has a continual infusion of new perspectives–that its people are immersed in, rather than protected from, the complexities of today’s world–and that there is an appreciation of the value of diverse points of view.

“Asking great questions: Framing the challenges facing the business in ways that are evocative and inspiring is needed to invite the broad organization to invest in creating innovative solutions.

“Conveying meaning required to tap discretionary effort: Understanding what makes being part of an organization special, why people choose to work there, and what leaders must provide in return to maintain their commitment and passion for the work at hand.

“Recasting leadership along these lines is important for the success of our organizations. And rethinking our approaches to development is essential to keep up-and-coming future leaders on a corporate path.”

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Is your organization’s talent pipeline actually a pipe dream? How do you set the context in our complex business environment?


Tamara Erickson is a Global Institute for Leadership Development faculty member and the founder of Tammy Erickson Associates. Her most recent work focuses on the changing workforce, demographic trends, and how corporations can effectively engage a diverse pool of employees. Follow her on Twitter @tammyerickson



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