Taking Over the Mantle - The Rise of the New Leadership Era

Hello Folks,
I wrote this article for my college Leadership series lectures. This year, the theme has been chosen as"Taking Over the Mantle". I have also incorporated some of my old writings n integrated it with some new writings. This article will be sent to Media. Hopefully should see this article in some leading magazines in India

A new generation is being baptized by fire in companies across India Inc.

 This rigorous training is imposed by their parents to acclimatize them to the grim business realities. They are suave and talk straight. They are educated from Ivy-league institutions. They are fluent in the grammar of global business. It is obvious as they spent their childhood days when globalisation was taking its fledgling steps after India opened the doors of Liberalisation in 1991. Above all, these business-family scions are highly ambitious. They are coming of age at the right time when India Inc ambitiously marches into the twenty first century.

This decade after the millenium has been quite remarkable for billions of Indians as it heralded the resurgence of India as the cynosure of the world, spurred by globalization and information technology. The most fascinating aspect of this riches to rags to riches story is the way India arrived at the right moment, realizing its innate strengths developed in her tryst with the forces of history, to lead the way in these dynamic vicissitudes of time. Be it India’s rich legacy of ancient sciences or the ‘palimpsest’ comprising diverse cultures within Indian DNA or the royal bequeathal of the English language from the British colonial masters, everything seems perfectly planned to orchestrate the rise of India in the new millennium. This Naya Daur has infused a whole new generation of Indians, repressed and shackled by centuries of colonialism, with an empowering sense of confidence to lead and conquer the world. The rise of the entrepreneurial spirit across cities and villages speaks volumes about this Himalayan aspiration running in every nook and corner of the country. No dream is now too big to achieve.

Behold ! The Gen-Next Leaders have arrived
Leadership through the centuries has been shaped by the challenges of the society it addressed to. Leaders of the previous era were defined by a strong element of superhuman ness which gave them the wherewithal to exercise power over their legion of followers. Their operational levers were driven by centralized power structures arising from one single authority. They were charismatic and extra-ordinary individuals who operated from a higher plane of reality. Their ability to lead depended on their capability to distance themselves from the web of circumstances their followers were led into. Their strong personality and exalted stature however turns out to be a liability in this new era as it makes their followers dependent and blinds them from understanding the dynamic and interconnected reality we are now living in.

In the new era, a leader is essential as long as the follower discovers the leader within. Leadership in the new era will transcend the limiting boundaries of gender and personality and will be characterized by an invisible, galvanizing spirit whose seed lies in the heart of each and every follower. Leadership energy cannot afford to be myopic in this new era. With the entire world remaining interconnected through seamless networks, leadership has to be mindful of the consequences of each and every decision taken, not just in its surrounding environment but also in distant borders where its repercussions could be felt.

Taking over the Mantle

While the new legions of leaders are working their way to the upper echelons of management, they cannot afford to forget that the remnants of old institutions still exist, while companies are transitioning to the new Era. This transition phase is highly critical especially when they are taking over the mantle. While they are hungry to steer the winds of change, in accordance with the changing times, it is important that they remain sensitive to the pain involved in transition. The greatest challenge would be in infusing the sense of change in the warp and woof of the organizational culture built laboriously over the years by their ancestors. It is no easy challenge. It would cut the mustard amongst the crop of new leaders waiting to lead India Inc in the twenty first century. Are they ready?