21st Century Leadership Skills


21stCentury Leadership Skills

21stCentury Leadership Skills

Leadershipis an important element of influencing people in a businessorganization as well as the world. Not only do leaders influencepeople, they also have the capability to influence the trend that theworld takes. Therefore, prominent leaders will portray excellentskills that influence more people and in a greater magnitude.According to Nahavandi (2014),thereare prominent leaders in the 21stcentury who have contributed revolutionary views on the leadershipskills needed in the modern world. This paper will explore threeprominent corporate leaders with a view of understanding theircontribution to the view of leadership skills of the century.

Inregard to the 21stcentury leaders, this paper will discuss Steve Jobs formultinationals, Richard SaulWurmanfor large corporations and Bill Nye for small corporations. SteveJobs was the CEO and the co-founder of Apple Inc, a technologymultinational. In his time, He led Apple Inc to revolutionize themobile, computer and software industries with innovative products andservices. Richard Saul Wurman wasthe CEO and founder of TED Talks, a company that aimed at holdingeducative conferences and trainings. BillNye is the CEO of the planetarySociety,an American non-profit making organization open to all. Theorganization researches and carries engineering projects that focuson ThePlanetary science, exploration, astronomy and political advocacy.


SteveJobs is one of the most respected and prominent leaders in thebusiness scene in the 21stcentury. Steve Jobs has portrayed different and revolutionaryleadership skills for the 21stcentury. Leadership skills that were portrayed by Steve Jobs are themain inspiration for the 21stcentury and for the future. According to Elliotand Simon (s2011),leadership skills Steve Jobs presented are needed for the 21stcentury, which is vindicated by the way he successfully portrayedthem. Among the leadership skills Steve Jobs presented that areneeded for the 21stcentury include innovative leadership and leading change.

Innovativeleadership is one of the most important 21stleadership skills that are communicated by the life of Steve Jobs.Nothing has influenced the leadership approaches at apple computerthan the element of innovation led by Steve Jobs. Through Steve’sinnovative leadership, innovation has been the main component ofapple’s success since its founding in 1976. Through Steve Jobs, thecompany adopted its main goal and purpose of finding, usinginnovation to make customer experience that is friendlier andaffordable (Elliot &amp Simon, 2011). The focus of Steve Job’sleadership inspired how the company revolutionized the existingtechnology environment. Through the use of innovation andcommunication, Steve Jobs made sure that the company gained from thedemand for friendlier products that was increasing among theconsumers in the fast-modernizing world.

Leadingchange is one of the main skills needed for the 21stcentury. According to Hemp and Stewart(2004), change is inevitable in themodern 21stcentury environment that is significantly marked by dynamism. SteveJobs exemplified the importance and the results of embracing changeand leading change in organizations. According to Elliot and Simon(2011),Steve Jobs led the change thatthe company, Apple Inc needed and the change the mobile phoneindustry needed. Through his vision for the future, Steve Jobsadopted change and used innovation to create the future. Byunderstanding the causes of change in the company, Steve Jobs createdmanagement environment and products that were responsive to newchanges (Elliot &amp Simon, 2011). Therefore, leaders of the 21stcentury should possess excellent skills in leading change andembracing new methods and technological environmental circumstances.

RichardSaul Wurman Leadership

The21stcentury leadership should have excellent intellectual skills markedby the ability to think and analyze the environment. The intellectualskills are exemplified by the leadership of Richard Saul Wurman.According to Heweit (2004), Wurman is a passionate thinker who hasbeen described as an intellectual hedonist with great works of makingcomplex topics clear. He is a designer who has published 83 books ondiverse topics including sports, leadership and healthcare. Wurman isbest known for creating the renowned TED conference, which broughttogether American thinkers in diverse fields (TED, 2013). The smartintellectual skills portrayed by Wurman are excellent lessons for thepeople who want to succeed in leadership in the 21stcentury.

Theleadership of the 21stcentury should be guided by knowledge, education and expertise ratherthan ignorance. This is an important trait that Wurman portrays inhis ability to learn from his ignorance. He once described this asone of the traits that has helped him develop new ideas (Hewitt,2004). Through is knowledgeable nature, Wurman has tackled diversetopics in design, technology and leadership with a lot of expertise.He says that he was able to achieve such traits because the newtopics come from his ignorance. The ability to learn from ignoranceis a valuable trait that modern leaders can use to acquire expertpower. This trait is built by his desire to know instead of staying,knowing (Knemeyer, 2004). For 21stcentury leaders, knowledge and intellectual skills are necessary forlearning and understanding the environment.

Forthe 21stcentury leadership to succeed, leaders need to have excellentcommunication skills. The communication skills needed for the 21stcentury are well exemplified by Wurman. Wurman is a great presenterand communicator with excellent presentation skills that any leaderin the world should possess and subdue. According to TED (2013), thebiggest passion in Wurman`s life is his desire to make informationunderstandable. His excellent presentations at TED Talks shared ideasand topics, so clearly to inspire understanding and intellectualgrowth (TED, 2013). His books focus on several different subjects,some of which he admits that he personally had difficultyunderstanding. His best-selling book, for example, “InformationAnxiety” serves as an outline of the motivating principles learntfrom in his previous experiences and presentations (Knemeyer, 2004).This skill makes Wurman a regular consultant to big corporations, notonly in design, but also in understanding of information.


The21stcentury leadership also requires human skills where leaders should beconcerned with the needs of people. The leadership skill of relatingwith people is well exemplified by the Bill Nye, a man who was once acomedian (Planetary, 2015). Bill Nye is an enthusiastic leader whoappreciates people at the Planetary Society, a non-profit makingorganization. With a comic background, Bill Nye is very enthusiasticabout individuals who live to implement good ideas that are enjoyable(Planetary, 2015). Leadership is a skill of influencing people andthis trait by Bill Nye presents an excellent way of social exchangewith people. He has the needed people skills to lead and influenceideas and thoughts of people. Bill Nye has been able to build suchenthusiasm by his ability appreciate people as well as value theirideas. It is by valuing other people’s ideas that he has been ableto get his ideas and knowledge influence people in turn

The21stcentury leaders must be Bill Nye is credited with having led theorganization into appreciating the importance of service anddiligence. The main driver for the unique NGO is the leadership styleof Bill Nye is the culture of the service installed in the company’sculture. Bill Nye’s leadership approach at Planetary Society is notbased on the management structures but on the service that eachperson is presented to the firm (Planetary, 2015). For the 21stcentury, diligence is important for the promotion of productivity inorganizations for the future. This is a lesson that can be learntfrom Bill Nye through his service, leadership style adopted andcommunicated at the Non-Profit organization. Service and diligence iswhat is credited to the leadership that is shown by Bill Nye as alesson to the 21stleadership.


Asan art of influencing people, leadership changes with time, justpeople and the environment change. For the 21stcentury, the environment is dynamic and requires leaders with skillsthat are relevant to the changes of the century and beyond (Bartonet al, 2012). The most prominent leadersof the 21stcentury who have exemplified these skills do so by portrayingexcellence in their leadership style. Steve Jobs has perfectedinnovative leadership, leading change and diligence. Richard SaulWurman presented the skills of intellectual skills, learning skillsand communication skills. Bill Nye exemplified to the 21stcentury leaders the skills of human skills and sustainableleadership. Through the adoption of these skills, the leaders of the21stcentury can be effective in serving the world through leadership.


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