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08 Apr 09 Leadership 2.0: Leader or Manager?

The term 2.0 sounds quite familiar, isn’t it? Not only the term 2.0 is similar to the one that you have known all along but the use of this term in this context is also done in the similar vein. The web got 2.0 attached to its name after the debacle of the early 21st Century Internet. The new name, Web 2.0 became symbolic of all the changes that were forthcoming.

A similar need has risen in the wake of the current corporate fiasco. This time the reason for the failure is the greed and shortsightedness of the corporate executives, of the managers who run the company and the world economy under the disguise of inspirational leaders. Their greed and focus for short term profit led the whole world to the economic crevasse, a crevasse so deep that coming out from here is very tough and will require the strength of character that is lacking in today’s’ business executives, and even if we come out of this crevasse and the economy revives, the world will never be the same again. The base has already shifted, and now an altogether different type of management style is needed to run business; now we need some truly inspirational business leaders who can pull us single handedly out of this fissure.

If the time is good, movement is easy, and when we do not need to exert ourselves to move ahead then we need someone just to look after the entire process, and to point out if something goes wrong, which rarely does. In such times we need a manager, who does not need to be inspirational or charismatic, he should only be diligent.

But, if the time is not favourable, and things started falling apart, these managers render themselves useless. In situation like these we need true leaders. The leader who can pull even the last one of us out from the deep crevasse we are stuck into by the sheer strength of his character. In such situations, we need someone to inspire us, someone to motivate us and instill the lost self belief in us. This is not the time, when dictating task and measuring the performance records will fetch any result. These tools were made for the time when things were normal, not for the time when everything has fallen apart. They will not be of any more use, but unaware of these facts today’s business managers are continuously using the same set of tools, which led them to this disaster, and the more they use it the deeper we fall in the trench.

This is the time when a fresh thinking is needed to assess and deliver the solution that was never heard of before. We need to understand that we cannot solve the problem with the mindset in which the problem was created. We need to shift the paradigm, we need to do away with the managers and their old way of thinking, and replace them with visionary leaders and their innovative ideas. We need to look for the leader who has a deep understanding of the situation and who is not scared of trying new things. We do not need those pretentious “been there done that” managers, rather we need an honest leader who accepts that he has not been through everything, and one who has the courage to accept that he doesn’t know the solutions to all the problems, but still he believes that if we work together we can get out of this economy crevasse. This is the style of leadership, which is needed. We need Leadership 2.0 to solve our problems. Like Web 2.0, Leadership 2.0 should also stand for every change that is forthcoming.

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