With the advances in communication technologies and all the new gadgets designed to ease to work load and make people function for efficiently, there are more and more demands of a leader today. Factor in the fact that there are an increasing number of multi-cultural working environments today and it becomes apparent just how much more different the leadership scene is today from previous years (Bennis, 2001).
One of the main challenges of a leader today that has been brought about by the development of technology is that a leader is now expected to do more. A leader is always expected to make the most of whatever resources are available (Covey, 1999). In previous years, the constraints of communication problems made the expectation much lower than it is today. With the relative ease in communication and the devices that are currently available, more output is expected from a leader.
Another challenge which was not present in the leadership scene in previous years is the existence of a growing number of multi-cultural teams in the work place. The diverse environments in the work place today demand that a leader be able to cope with the different cultural background and communication skills of his team members (Bennis, 2001). This creates a more challenging working environment as leaders must try to adjust to the needs of working in a multi-cultural environment.
Finally, with the level of competition brought about by globalization, it is becoming increasingly difficult for leaders to cultivate a company culture that promotes job satisfaction and reduces the turnover rate of employees. The relative ease of finding other jobs in other companies and markets and the level of competition demands that a leader must be able to play a critical role in keeping the team members happy as well as ensuring a certain level of productivity to remain competitive (Covey, 1999).
While it may be argued that these leadership challenges were already present in the workplace before, it must be pointed out that these challenges only existed to a minimal extent and were not a major factor until now. It is expected that as the world markets expand and the level of competition increases, the role of a leader today will only become more challenging and stressful.
Bennis, W., Spreitzer, G. and Cummings, T. (2001) The Future of Leadership: Todays Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrows Leaders Jossey-Bass Publishing Company
Covey, S. (1999) Principle-centered Leadership Simon & Schuster Ltd