Management of the Future

Machine Businessman

The belief that leaders must be competitive, charismatic and masculine to succeed are stereotypes many business schools perpetuate, to the exclusion of other important traits. Two dimensional management doesn’t cut it anymore, and better efficiency and technology isn’t always the solution.

Effective leadership of the future requires a different mix of traits and the use of different leadership styles. Below are three leadership styles that have emerged in the 21st century, and will likely be around for many centuries yet.

Spiritual Leadership

Spiritual leadership focuses on creating an ethical workplace, with shared values in which employees and leaders have engaged relationships.

Spiritual leadership is defined by researchers Fry and Matherly as “creating the values, attitudes, and behaviours that are necessary to intrinsically motivate one’s self and others so they have a sense of spiritual survival/well being through calling and membership”.

The spiritual leadership approach entails the following:

  • Creating a social organisational culture in which leaders and employees values are aligned
  • Management must make employees feel as though they are valued members of the organisation
  • Management must make employees feel a sense of well being through a range of ethical measures, such as showing genuine care, concern and appreciation to employees

Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is a very recent leadership style. The idea of the approach is that the leadership must constantly adapt to the ever changing business environment around them. Adaptive management differs from traditional approaches in four dimensions. They are:

  • Navigating the environment – Adaptive management embraces uncertainty and will adopt new approaches to find sustainable success in turbulent times
  • Leading with empathy – Adaptive management create a sense of shared purpose
  • Learning through self correction – Adaptive management encourages experimentation. Some experiments fail, but this is how they learn for the future

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership isn’t entirely a new business style, but only recently has it gained serious recognition. Servant leadership was a hallmark of Jesus of Nazareth, who administered to the sick and afflicted throughout His documented life.

This approach was also used (with great effect) by many of the greatest and most revered leaders in history, including Gotama Buddha, Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi, among others.

Some of the characteristics a servant leader should possess include:

  • Stewardship: Leaders that devote trust to the employees should receive it in return
  • Listening: Management applying the servant leadership approach must make a deep commitment to listen to employees
  • Empathy: Emphasize with others and accept them for who they are
  • Healing: Management must heal any employees who suffer hurt or emotional pain at work
  • Conceptualization: Encompassing broader conceptual thinking as oppose to thinking strictly about the day to day activities

Personality Tests for Managers and Leaders

Curious to see what kind of leader you are? Here is a list of free online tests to get an idea, although you should consider them strictly for “entertainment purposes only”.

Peter Drucker’s Free Management Test

Management Focus Test via Silver Service Consultancy

Would You Make a Good Leader? via

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