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Leadership Lessons All Future Leaders Need to Know

Future leaders must reinvent their styles and attitudes with changing times



leadership lessons
Image Credit: Midjourney

Since time immemorial, there has been a lot of emphasis on leaders and leadership.  What fascinates this area is still a mystery throughout history.  Although a lot of research has been done, it is still unpredictable what makes an individual a leader.

In addition, there is also a debate about whether the leaders are born or made.  

Often the leadership legends looked back to learn lessons from their past successful leaders whenever they faced leadership crises. 

For instance, several American Presidents looked back to the leaders like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whenever they were beset with challenges.  It helped them learn lessons and overcome the challenges.  

The question that arises here is whether what worked in the past will work in the future.  The answer to this is both yes and no.  It appears strange, right?  Let us look at the same.

The concept of leadership remains the same at the core level as the nature of the people remains the same at the core.  

At the same time, there is a need for changes in leadership with the changing times and technologies at the surface level to stay relevant and successful for future survival and success.   

For instance, leadership in the past believed in the concept of ‘command and control’ and now it is more of ‘collaboration and partnering’.  It is at the surface level.  However, qualities like character, example, and influence remain the same at the core level.   

Hence, let us look at a few touchstones of future leaders that are the blend of past, present, and future. 

Touchstones for Future Leaders

There are several lessons for budding and upcoming leaders to take on future battles effectively.  They need to learn lessons from their failures.  

As a leader, you need to start knocking down obstacles.  You need to know your weaknesses and move forward.  You should not allow people to know your weaknesses.  

You need to put up a brave front always. As a leader, you need to set an example to influence others.   

Let us look at a few more in a nutshell:

    • Character is the key to leadership as Norman Schwarzkopf rightly put it, “The main ingredient of good leadership is good character.  This is because leadership involves conduct and conduct is determined by values.”   
    • Always take the long view.
    • Listen to all and unfurl your ideas.
    • Although it sounds strange, it is better to befriend your enemies to ensure your survival and success. 
    • Achieve your goals at a reasonable expense.
    • It is the personal power, not the positional power that counts in the end. 
    • Emphasize the ideas and the issues of the individuals.
    • There are no competitors but only collaborators as yesterday’s competitors are today’s collaborators.  
    • Learn lessons in difficult situations. 
    • Use soft rather than hard power.  

Future Leaders

The future leaders must be a blend of doers, planners, and teachers.  They must build the capabilities and competencies of their people.  They must empower their people.  

What worked in the past might not work in the future as the leadership scenario has changed drastically.  

For instance, Winston Churchill was a wartime hero but failed as a leader during peacetime.

As there is always a change of guard from one generation to another, every generation must pass on the knowledge to the next generation so that the future generations can survive without making mistakes. 

The new generation learns and adopts the new things that become the surface and also retains the old things that become the core. 

A Take-Home Message

Famously said by Helen Keller, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

It is a fact that although times and technologies change, the leadership principles and values that guide human nature do not change in totality.  

However, there is a need to change things at the surface level to tackle future challenges without compromising core values and morals. 

Therefore, the upcoming leaders and future leaders must reinvent their styles and attitudes with changing times to stand out from the pack and soar like eagles.

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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