Iuri Mgebrishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia). What should be the leader today

What should be the leader today

Specially for the DC “Democracy through Culture” 

Dr. Iuri Mgebrishvili is professor of the Institute for Cultural Studies of the State Ilia University (Tbilisi), leader of training programmes for management, Programming Director of Stichting Caucasus Foundation –, Director of Caucasus Spring University, Executive director of the International Cultural Fair “Caucasus 2003”, author and editor of numerous publicsations on culture, cultural policies andcultural management.   

What kind should be a leader of future? What kind of qualities should he/she have? What kind should be a future manager – a person having necessary required potential to manage global organization? Numerous studies are dedicated to these questions. In order to collect information such methods have been used as focus group inquiries, interviewing and reviews.

The comparison between the leaders of past and future has revealed as similarities as well as differences. The quality necessary in past to carry out efficient management has not lost its actuality even nowadays and it will maintain its importance in future. The qualities like foresee, honesty, result orientation and client care, have always been very important and will continue to be so in future as well.

At the same time, it is clear that the great importance will have the following five crucial factors: global thinking, considering cultural diversity, ability to use modern technologies, partner-oriented approach and management delegation ability.

Global thinking. Globalization will be directly reflected on the leader of future. The times when a company could be closed in its region (or country) and be successful, will soon be over. In future the trend taking us to generating of globally connected markets will likely be more enhanced. The leaders should understand not only economic factors of globalization but its cultural, legal and political outcomes. The managers operating in any field should have perception of themselves, as the world citizens which have much wider view point and values.

It is considered that the global thinking will be given crucial importance by two processes, namely, rapid increase of global trading and integrated global technologies, like digital ones. The study participants of the entire world predict the increase of globalization scope.  Some of them believe that the future leaders will have to work in many countries and in virtual networks, before they get aware of what multinational relations can give his/her organization. In terms of rapid increase of competition, the entrepreneurs will face the necessity to learn global enterprise management, marketing and realization as in real as well as in virtual environment.

The second reason for what global thinking is requires quality for the leader of future is new technologies. Their use gives a possibility to export “White Collars” worldwide. Programmers from India collaborate with Italian project designers on the processing of product that will be manufactured in Indonesia and will be sold in Brazil. On the way of globalization technologies can overcome difficulties that before seemed to be insuperable. It will be difficult for managers involved in local problems and management of micro-level to compete on global market. The leaders that will be able to make globalization to work on them will receive a great advantage of competitiveness.

Partner-oriented approach. The development of partnership and alliances will obtain much more importance in future then it had in past. Many organizations that rarely used to make part of alliance now regularly create it. This trend will become more visible in future.

Ranging, restructuring and size reduction take us into the world where outsourcing will probably become the standard/norm for all kinds of activities, except core business. The capability to make negotiations about alliance creating and management of complex networks is getting more and more important. Joint management with new activities should be determined as one of the vital point for successful global organization.

The change of role of clients, suppliers and partners made a great influence on management. In past it was obvious who was a friend and who was an enemy. In future it will become more obscure. In a new world it will absolutely be necessary to have transparent, long-term and profitable relations with many organizations.

Management delegation ability. In the world where the management of flexible and variable network, will likely be more important than management from strict top hierarchy, the ability to distribute efficiently the management is the requirement and not the choice. Giving instructions to alliance partners about what and how they do something may cause their lost. All participants shall be able to work together to achieve the joint objective

In future not only manager will be different, but employees as well. Many people understand that one of the important factors of their success is high-qualified staff. Peter Drucker ones noticed that high-qualified people are those, who know more about their job than their managers. In relations with them the old model of management does not work. Practice, when subordinates are given order how and what to do becomes as nonsensical anachronism. The managers will have to request initial data and work in mode of information access distribution. It will not be easy to maintain high-qualified employees. We should not expect from them any particular loyalty to certain organizations. They probably will act as freelancers working with those who will offer them the utmost possibility of development and professional enhancement.

The valuable merit of the leader of future will be the ability to attract talented people and to maintain them. Perhaps, delegated management can reveal the above mentioned ability.

Ability to use modern technologies. One of the most important characteristics of the leader of future obviously is the ability to orientate in modern technologies. Many future managers grow up and develop together with modern technologies and consider these modern technologies an integral part of their lives. The managers of nowadays consider technologies as something important for staff and production subdivisions and not for those people who manage “real” organization/company.

            It’s clear that use of modern technologies mostly is determined by individual capabilities. It is not necessary that all be talented technician or computer expert, but it’s necessary:

  • To understand how modern technologies can be useful for our company/organization;
  • To attract, develop and support employees having technical competence;
  • To know in which new technologies to invest and how to manage these investments;
  • To be an example in using new technologies.

In practice, new technologies will become one of the important factors defining the main direction of the company activities. Organizations/companies under management of technology experts, will receive competitive advantages. Without modern technologies integrated global partners and networks have no future.

Considering cultural diversity. The development of globalization leads us towards the fact that leaders of future will have to act in terms of cultural diversity implying different approach to the management and enterprise, personal actions and values, interrelations between different races and sex. They should realize not only economic and legal differences but differences of social and motivation nature, existing in labor sector worldwide. Respect of different people is one of the most important features of efficient global leader. Managers having high potential think that learning and development foreign culture is not only good business practice but also one of the crucial aspects of competitiveness in future.

Important as well as less important constituent of certain culture should be taken in consideration. For example, few Europeans and Americans working now in Middle East had time to read Quran (saying nothing about its understanding). It’s obvious that the religion is one of the most important factors having influence on the behavior of the habitants of the above mentioned region. It’s necessary to better understand aspects of minor importance, like, importance of gifts, personal greeting or just the time of any action.

Much more importance will obtain the ability to promote and motivate people of different cultures. The motivation strategy in one cultural environment may be offensive in another one. The public recognition, which an American seller would be proud of, may cause awkwardness in scientist from the UK. Leaders having ability to understand appreciate and efficiently motivate colleagues belonging to different cultures will become more valuable resource in future.

We can make the following findings considering the above mentioned. Top leaders think that the new era requires new habits and knowledge. Unfortunately, nowadays many managers are deprived of such habits and often enough they don’t consider such habits important. Global thinking, partner oriented approach, management delegation ability, use of modern technologies and considering cultural diversity – there are the features that many modern managers are lack of and often even does not realize their significance/importance. But still these are exactly those features that are requirements for future managers that should understand it as necessary attributes for successful development.

In order to enter the future millennium, future companies/organizations will have to change either mind attitude of managers or their work condition. For those who are going to retire this is not very important. It may become a problem for those managers who have no necessary skills and now they are in the middle of their career.

They should realize the significance of these habits; understand what to learn and how to do in best manner. It will be necessary to correct existing system of promoting and stimulating in the company/organization taking in view new important features.

It’s bad that many of nowadays managers could not realize new features; rather they cannot evaluate them properly. It’s good that majority of potential future leaders understand the great importance of new features and think that it’s necessary to include them in efficient performance appraisal system. Historically acting managers always taught and prepared future managers. We believe that it will continue so, though with one important addition: the future managers may be hired in order to help the existing ones in development. If future managers will be wise enough to learn on the experience of existing managers and existing managers will acquire new features from future managers, they will be able to delegate and distribute management in favor of their organization/company.