Harvard Professor Rosabeth Kanter On What It Means to Lead & How To Be an Effective Leader
Rosabeth Moss Kanter has authored 20 books during her career as a Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Her most recent book goes with the following title: “Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change The World One Smart Innovation At A Time?”.
From early childhood, her passion was to motivate people to rise to the challenge of tackling the numerous problems of our lives. Admittedly, our world will never have a shortage of hurdles; therefore, people willing to overcome them will always be in demand.
Finding the leaders of tomorrow immensely intrigues Professor Kanter. Molding the leaders of tomorrow is a fundamental prerequisite to addressing the severe impacts of problems, such as climate change.
The educational activities of Tomorrow’s Leaders
The recent pandemic, the war on Ukraine, and its economic repercussions are also on the table. Professor Kanter aims to mobilize the younger generations to contribute to the solutions to such problems and train the leaders of tomorrow.
The educational process of Professor Kanter is innovative and straightforward. She takes several case studies for various situations that trouble the world and gives her students the freedom to act as leaders. The role of a leader is to review the case and develop the appropriate solution.
Her students enhance their leadership skills by tackling real-world problems. These abilities will be fundamental in their future business endeavors and crucial if they are to run their business eventually.
A crucial aspect of the new and innovative educational activities regarding leadership is to assess the student’s potential rather than a sterile score or grade card. Today’s youth are driven by ambition to contribute to tackling the major problems worldwide. Therefore, students today engage in activities that facilitate them in making a real-life impact rather than amassing a series of academic laurels.
Professor Kanter declares that leadership is not a subject of remembering and learning details. Leadership is about the following attributes:
3) Connection with other people
4) Capability of making your case and inspiring other people
The last attribute is the pinnacle of leadership. The ability to mobilize other people to follow you and, collectively, take action to address an issue is paramount for the modern leader.
Furthermore, a genuine leader emerges in a time of crisis. Former President Clinton deemed that people would not remember him as a great President. He validated his claim with the notion that he was President in a prosperous time for the country. He did not have to handle a major crisis during his tenure.
Another prominent example is the current Ukrainian President, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Mr. Zelenskyy was a former actor, and no one believed he would rise to the challenge when tragedy hit his country. He contradicted all his doubters by employing leadership qualities unifying his compatriots and giving them courage in these tumultuous times.
Quoting Professor Kanter: “The job of a Leader is to create the culture and then let other people run with it”. This means that a leader creates an environment based on his ethics and values and encourages other people to state their opinions and ideas.
A primary figure of modern Leadership, according to Professor Kanter, is Elon Musk. He has had numerous breakthrough ideas in the last years, and he has assembled a team of talented individuals with skills he lacks. The latter embodies the spirit of the phrase: “Surround yourself with people who will make up for your inadequacies”.
Moreover, the esteemed professor opposes the culture of favoritism. Many CEOs have ascended the corporate ladder by having social connections with their executives.
Overall, it is paramount to differentiate between being an executive and a Leader. An executive concludes deals, manages personnel and budgets, and participates in the company’s meetings. A leader can be a person at any level of the hierarchy of a company or a country that inspires others to take action.
A characteristic example of an accomplished leader is Nelson Mandela. The iconic figure of South Africa included everyone in his vision to live in a country with no-segregation policies. He even wanted his oppressors by his side.
In wrapping up-The importance of re-inventing
A leader stays in the front line only when he sporadically redefines his purpose and mission. A prepared mind accomplishes this with the following methods:
1) Constant learning
2) Developing empathy for his/her delegates and peers
3) Focus on partnerships with leading organizations to tackle problems of the community
4) Creation of positive ideas. Any sign of a toxic working environment is detrimental to your cause.
5) Build a network in your community and discuss ideas and solutions for specific matters.
6) Be proactive. You don’t hesitate into anything, and as Professor Kanter states: “Any action is better than none”.
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