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Herman Trend Alert: Secret of Effective Leadership in 21st Century

Our research into what makes leaders effective has uncovered an interesting factor that deserves more exploration and discussion. For years, workers seeking to grow into higher career positions have developed specialties in particular areas of expertise. In tomorrow’s world, these subject matter strengths will be valuable, but will not enable people to become effective leaders.

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Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

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From “Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists.

Posted: Feb. 17, 2005, 9 a.m., EST

GREENSBORO, NC — Our research into what makes leaders effective has uncovered an interesting factor that deserves more exploration and discussion. For years, workers seeking to grow into higher career positions have developed specialties in particular areas of expertise. In tomorrow’s world, these subject matter strengths will be valuable, but will not enable people to become effective leaders.

We need engineers, scientists, information technology specialists, environmentalists, healthcare professionals and many more technically-schooled workers. Skills in the use of computers and electronic media are also essential for success in our global, technological world. With rapid change and expanding opportunities, workers — and especially leaders — need something more.

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The most critical ingredient for success in the years — and decades — ahead will be a broad and deep understanding of a wide range of topics. The ability to intellectually explore and discuss issues, possibilities and new methods will require greater understanding and appreciation of history, philosophy, research and communication. The future work environment will demand people who can think creatively, collaborate well with others and approach life from a solid interdisciplinary foundation. Strength in a narrow specialty will no longer be sufficient.

Subject matter experts who learned management in the latter half of the last century will find themselves competing with a new kind of worker, a new kind of leader. People with a liberal arts education are now in demand because of the breadth and multidisciplinary nature of their post-secondary education. While liberal arts graduates used to be perceived as unprepared for any career requiring expertise, they are now sought-after because of their abilities to be flexible, adaptable and look at things from a number of perspectives. They respond more effectively to changing conditions because they have a broader foundation and have been challenged to explore possibilities.

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Leading educational institutions are already responding to the emerging need, offering week-end courses and now even graduate degrees in liberal arts. For an example of a long-time innovator in this work, see www.hiram.edu.

Copyright 2005 by The Herman Group — From “Herman Trend Alert,” by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurists. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com.

The opinions expressed in “Herman Trend Alert” articles appearing on aftermarketNews.com do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AMN or Babcox Publications.

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