The workplace of the 21st century requires a different set of skills from those that characterised the industrial age, and a different kind of leader. In an economy where knowledge, creativity and innovation are prized, people are the new bottom line and their potential must be harnessed, rather than instructed. The age of the command-and-control leader has long gone.
The new leader is softer, guiding rather than controlling, coaching and mentoring rather than managing by diktat. Increasingly, the most admired and successful CEOs are those who tap their company's potential not through a dirigiste and hierarchical management style but by understanding the work ethic and values of their employees, and empowering them to thrive.
We are seeing the birth of a new kind of corporate leader suited to the strategic imperatives of the knowledge economy.