Shifting Leadership

The new Associations Now magazine has an interesting story about leadership. It covers some research being done by the Center for Creative Leadership (top of the line leadership training outfit in North Carolina). Their research shows that the definition of leadership is changing, or at least that the relative ranking of standard leadership components is changing.

For instance, they have eight individual leadership skill categories, ranked by importance by the leaders and managers that go through their training programs. Between 2002 and 2005 there were some significant shifts. In both lists the number 1 area was “leading employees,” although honestly: the number one leadership skill is leading? I’ll take that as a given (or as meaningless—take your pick).

Among the others, the following three rose in importance between 2002 and 2005: 

Building and mending relationships (5 to 2)
Change management (7 to 3)
Participative management (6 to 4).

Falling in importance were:

Resourcefulness (2 to 5)
Decisiveness (4 to 6)
Straightforwardness and composure (3 to 8).

This certainly makes me feel like I’m not insane, since I’ve been emphasizing relationships, communication, etc. in my work for all these years. It’s nice to have some research on my side! I’m a little concerned with “straightforwardness” dropping so much, although I also am not sure why it is linked to “composure.” Anyway, it’s a good article. I recommend reading the whole thing.