There is a new breed of leadership surfacing in organizations. According to an article on information management.com by Stacie Capshaw and Thomas M. Kuolopolous, this new breed, “knowledge leaders” is evolving. It no longer fits into the nice square organizational chart boxes used since the fifteenth century.
Citing a multi-client study by the Delphi Group, they indicated that knowledge leaders from diverse organizations exhibited similar qualifications, most notably:
A hybrid business/information technology experience
Ten years (often much more) of line-of-business experience
A high level of interest in career definition and development
Astute communication skills for use with the formal organizational chart hierarchy as well as the informal networking that occurs in the trenches
The new knowledge leader applies education knowledge, experience knowledge, passion and street savvy – and can effectively communicate the vision of the organization at every level.
Ken Blanchard, author of numerous books including The One Minute Manager believes that “the key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” Warren Bennis, founding chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California, believes that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Both are right, yet today’s leader needs to be so much more.
We must close the knowledge leadership gap. The 21st century demands a wise, more flexible leader with a conversational communication style – all of which can be learned.
Acknowledge change is necessary: You cannot change unless you know you need to change. The first step is becoming aware of knowledge leadership. Next, determine your leadership style. Lastly be prepared to make the necessary changes to thrive and be profitable
Build or Rebuild Workplace Environments: Using an entrepreneurial eye, evaluate your workplace environment to see what needs improving, replacing or changing. Your workforce lives there for at least eight hours per day. If something as simple as changing the color of paint on the walls will reduce stress then repaint the walls a calming color.
Create conversational communication tools: Communicating with your workforce in the same way you communicate with the Board of Directors no longer works. While texting and email seem to be the method of choice today, a direct phone call or an in-person visit with your staff or workforce is even more empowering for them and for you.
Develop a Roadmap to the Future without Boxes: The knowledge leader no longer fits well into boxes. In fact, the boxes of an organizational chart are stifling, destroy creativity and limit communications. The result: reduced productivity, poorer performance and less profitability. Adopt an organizational chart that organizes the flow in a circular manner that will best help you unleash, engage and empower workforce productivity and sustainable profitability.
Knowledge leadership is not only on the rise but here to stay. The world stage demands it. “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions,” said Harold S. Geneen, former President of the ITT Corporation. Taking action and applied knowledge today becomes the knowledge leadership for sustainable profitability tomorrow.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.