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The Future of Leadership by Contest Winner Stilyan Paleykov

BuILD is thrilled to publish this entry on the future of leadership written by Stilyan Paleykov.

We, as a society, are in a process of constant evolution. No matter the pace of this process or its scale, it is present and driven by us.
 
But how is leadership connected with that process? Is it the same as management and is it evolving? Can we tell how is leadership going to change in the future? This article will answer these questions.
 
Every single company is driven by an idea, mission, a specific goal. And at the core of the most successful companies, there is one good leader that defines this mission. However, defining the mission is just one of the tasks. The leader is not just a manager.
 
Managers are usually the people that try to reduce costs and increase productivity and revenue, optimizing the capital turnover. There are different styles of management with their specific advantages and disadvantages.
 
Paul Polman, a renowned businessman gives a good example of the essence of leadership: “Leadership is not just about giving energy… it’s unleashing other people’s energy”. Successful leadership is not focused upon purely economic gains. Instead, it is focused towards inspiring and motivating others to create.
 
In a real-life business environment that would mean to stimulate the employees to experiment, give them a field to develop their ideas and inspire them, while at the same time – assist them to keep learning. This approach is definitely more democratic and modern, but it has been proven over the years that successful companies truly care for their staff and their customers.
 
Another key part of the future of leadership is the ability to understand both the capabilities of the competitors and customers’ capabilities and needs. Tesla and IBM are two accurate examples for this article, as they are both successful companies with good leaders. In fact, there is a huge difference between them in two key ways:
  1. When they were founded;
  2. What do they offer.
IBM has managed to stay on the market since 1911, while Tesla is fairly new – founded in 2003. IBM has changed several industries of operation, now focusing on cognitive computing with their platform IBM Watson. Tesla is famous for its electric automobiles and solar panels.
 
IBM has proven its ability for market adaptation – a crucial factor for handling competitors. Being on the market for over 100 years and offering different, unique products requires not one, but several good leaders.
 
Tesla, on the other hand, is a fairly new company, run by Elon Musk. Although he is an inseparable part of the research and development processes, he also manages to maintain his public appearance in the media and inspire others, proving that environment-friendly products benefit not only humanity, but economic growth as well.
 
Although it is impossible to predict how leadership is going to change, we are currently living in a modern, futuristic civilization, driven by tendencies of motivation, inspiration, understanding and adaptation – the key factors of success and evolution.