This is the fourteenth in a series of posts which articulate fundamental shifts in leadership paradigms from the 20th to the 21st century.
When performance and results were the mark of leadership success in the 20th Century, a leader’s CV was the score sheet. Lists of qualifications, elite educational institutions, corporate organisations and awards defined employee desirability. Many very impressive individuals were immediately denied access to employment opportunities because they did not have sufficient important names on these documents. Many women who took time off to parent young children, were especially disadvantaged by gaps in their CVs and a diminished opportunity to gain these marks of accomplishment – irrespective of the competencies they may have gained during their time away from formal employment. Individuals who spent time in less highly-regarded qualifications and work experiences were generally excluded from these positions irrespective of what they may have learned or experiences they may have gained in these different environments or in less formal ways.
Although the change is happening very slowly, the 21st Century is gradually starting to question the value of some of these measures of leadership success. Broad-based credibility measured in terms of meaningful impact, multiple intelligences and reputation is gaining value. Outstanding recruiters are starting to experiment with new and less prejudicial ways of evaluating leader potential, although they are still pressurized by organisational habits to conform to the norm. They are learning to recognize that deep leadership competence is not necessarily built in a classroom or a corporate office, but in unusual and challenging life experiences and knowledge built from multiple cross-boundary influences. As social media makes reputation more public and transparent, 21st Century leaders and beginning to build more narrative records of their work, their perspectives, their experiences and their impact.
#AstuteLeaders consciously build a credible story about who they are and the value they can add. They recognise and appreciate multiple competencies and know how they add value.
Reflection question: As an Astute Leader, how are you actively developing your leadership credibility.
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