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Contemporary Leadership


For a long time leadership has been viewed as an exercise of total power by an individual to his subjects. The subjects had to show complete adherence to the leader without questioning. Contemporary leadership is, however, different. The leader has influence over the issues, and they affect the leader in return. Both the leader and the subjects share the goal of the organization that increases chances of achieving the goals compared to where the subjects have no say in the decisions that concern the organization. Decentralization is central to contemporary leadership.

Characteristics and Principles of Contemporary Leadership

Good leaders are determined by the willingness of their subjects to be directed and influenced by their and not by the positions that he holds. The leader is fully involved in the activities of the organization even to the extent of joining the subjects in doing the work. This is contrary to the traditional leadership where the leader gave instructions and watched the work being done. The leader is also always ready to learn even from those under him or her. Leaders do their best to bring out the full potential of their subject. This can be done through allowing them to take the initiative in the work that they do and to be there for them to attend to any clarifications that they may have concerning their duties. Contemporary leadership is based on two principles. One is togetherness between the leader and the subjects. The boundary that separates the leader and the issues is narrow compared to that of traditional leadership. This enables the subjects to share freely any grievances that they may be having. Note that they are made part of the problem-solving team, and we expect that the best solution is found. The second principle is sharing a common goal. The leader sets the goal and ensures that it is clear to all the people under him so they can all work towards achieving it.

Challenges in Contemporary Leadership

As discussed above, this kind of leadership requires much involvement and consultation of the subjects in decision making. If a contemporary leader is not careful, the organization may experience delayed decision making that could delay achievement of goals. To some extent, the subjects may lack confidence in their leader especially if they fail to understand the reason he consults them or involves them before making a decision. The leader should ensure that the desire to include people does not come at the cost of leader-subject respect.

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