What is 21st-century Leadership and why does it matter amid COVID?

A simple description of what 21st-century leadership is; the approach that leadership positions their responses toward addressing today's world's many unique challenges and opportunities. Modern leadership is more behavioral and interactive than the past leadership standards, focusing on the behaviors, traits, and styles of individuals under the direction and how the leadership responses, interactions, and policies in the 21st-century affect every aspect of the surrounding social networks. 21st-century leadership is authentic, compassionate, and in service of the broader community. 21st-century leadership is developing actual profits by investing in the people, the city, and the brands' trust in a more excellent environment.

Modern reality, Leadership exchange- post Covid

What Matters:

In 21st Century Leadership, it is the followers' characteristics, which are of the most relevant in understanding leadership effectiveness. The contributions of the followership are the strongest predictors toward shaping leadership and the required responsibilities.

Russell (2009) asserted that the most valuable skill for the researcher is to gain a variety of information sources to explore and build upon using conceptual frameworks.

Is leadership not a conceptual framework that evolves and is shaped by the societies that use it?

Shared goals and building trust

Exploring the elaborate conceptual framework of the leadership interface unveils rich and distinctive domains. Leadership attributes are changing to indicate a more prosperous way forward, mirroring the values that initially underpinned traditional academia, where the founding leadership behaviors reflected trust, professionalism, and collective responsibility (Waring, 2017).

Emerging technologies and age are no longer significant factors in leadership or entrepreneurship. Historically, leadership is identified as traits (and generally masculine and physical ones) developed over time. Leaders effectively manage people and company operations, nourish objectives, and accomplish goals (Bass & Stogdill, 1990).

Therefore, leadership's ability to exist rests on the concept of followership—the willingness for someone to follow the lead of another to accomplish a shared goal.

Fundamentally, leadership is changing as a result of the shifting values (Simpkins, 2009), evolving communication (Finn, 2012), and technology's blurring of cultural boundaries (Cabellon and Brown, 2017; Tassey, 2017).

Now is an exciting time to be a leading scholar-practitioner. Malek and Jaguli (2018) report that leadership must engage and interact with the different generations in the workplace, including being aware of the employees' expectations and differences. That influential leaders today possess the capacity to build a stage of unity and trust from those differences, creating and fostering inclusive cultures, and finding a balance between the "old and new" (p. 18). We live in a time where female leaders are increasingly influential in the work environment as they can address the most diverse workforce-related issues in their unique approaches to leadership (Malek & Jaguli, 2018).

The future is the development and reflection of real authentic leadership.

The Leadership theory of today is that humanity stands at a precipice in history where technology and globalization are challenging the historical perceptions of leadership to redefine a more humanistic, moral, and ethical approach toward organizational lead success. The values of culture, gender, experience, and scholarship combine to challenge the simplified trait-based leadership of the past.

Millennials are the first "high-tech" generation whose values result from the globalization of society (Becton, Walker, & Jones-Farmer 2014). Hesselbein (2015) expressed love toward the millennial's ability to articulate what they believe and their ability and determination to do something about it. Overwhelmingly, research proves the millennial generation, by definition and construct of observations of senior generations, do, in fact, display leadership, as it has been instructed and impressed since the early 1970s.

Historically, leadership is defined by the results of studies performed with little consideration or understanding toward leadership as it pertains to either gender or culture (Ayman and Korabik, 2010). Modern scholarship and policymakers must consider the significant impacts of leadership behaviors from history and reconsider their relevance today. My position on leadership theory is that we require a new perspective for leadership. Organizations and academics today are doing everything in their power to address this need while building on the current body of knowledge to create the new direction required to lead a global tech-based workforce.

A journey back in time

A short journey back in time, the rise of entrepreneurship

In 1974 leadership was examined to address the unique development of educated individuals rejecting secure positions (Berlew, 1974). The changes witnessed by academics were dramatic but necessary, highlighting the shifting values of the time. The reemergence of entrepreneurialism took the stage in 1985, where the researchers called for a dynamic, open society and economy. During these changes, growing demand for high-growth commerce and the calls demanded a rise in entrepreneurial growth (Harris & Harris, 1985).

Sound Familiar?

Leadership is changing again, reflecting a robust transformational leadership style with distinctive servant leadership undercurrents. COVID 19 demands that societies rethink leadership, redesign business operations, and society is being reshaped as we strive to move cohesively toward survival. Transformational leaders create highly innovative and satisfying organizational cultures, articulating, and displaying a sense of vision and purpose (Bass & Avolio, 1993). The future of leadership reflects global societies' calls, which require engaged, compassionate, understanding leadership that offers a fair representation of all stakeholders.

In studying technologies, entrepreneurship, inclusive action, and generations in organizational leadership: these four subjects are emerging as the driving forces of leadership change in the 21st century, after the followership. Parry (1998) closely tied the notion of leadership to organizational change, identifying a significant dimension of organizational change relevant to leadership as the use of influence to change people's activities and relationships.

The anthropologist Lantis (1987) found that a person who can influence others' behavior and beliefs in any given direction is a leader. The ability to alter others' behavior and attitude is identified in the anthropological definition of leadership (Parry, 1998; Lantis, 1987). Collaborative technologies do not support teamwork if team members do not see the technologies as collaborative (Orlikowski, 1992). The driving force behind the changing concepts of leadership is the people's perception of the honesty in leadership communication, reliability in fair representation, and the ability to reflect authentic and compassionate service of the broader community.

ShockTober, where great business is not scary- its necessary!

About Constance Quigley. As a Doctor of organizational leadership, I like studying leadership from entrepreneurialism, technologies, inclusive culture, and generational perspective. Together with my husband and some of the best minds in the industry, we created J.C. Quigley! We are here to ensure that your corporation, side gig, or artistic pursuit succeeds. Leadership is changing - but there is nothing spooky about what is happening. Happy October and please remember to vote. I am here when you are ready.


Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership. American Psychologist, 65(3), 157-170. doi:10.1037/a0018806

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Simpkins R.A., (2009). Leadership and the Great Value Shift© & recognizing and responding to change in a changing world. Business Strategy Series, (4), 221. https://doi.org/10.1108/17515630910976361

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Waring, M. (2017). Management and leadership in UK universities: exploring the possibilities of change. Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, 39(5), 540–558. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2017.1354754

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