In his new book, “LeaderocityTM: Leading at the Speed of Now,” Teaching Professor Richard Dool proposes ten competencies that leaders at all levels and in every organization can use as a guide to establish their leadership brands and enhance their leadership practices.
LeaderocityTM – a term Dool created – is a conception of the intersection between leadership and velocity. Dool said, “I developed the concept of LeaderocityTM and the notion of leading at the speed of now. I came to realize that the intersection of leadership and velocity could provide insight into the challenges facing leaders. Leaders today must navigate a chaotic, fast-paced, complex environment against a backdrop of systemic impatience. We describe the context of the ‘speed of now’ in our book.”
Dool, who is the director of the Master of Communication and Media and Master of Health Communication and Information programs at SC&I, noted the book is coming out at a critical time, because leaders are facing unprecedented challenges from many directions, including the pandemic, the economic crisis, the fight for racial justice, and many additional challenges, including, Dool said, working in a world with a 24x7 orientation, where speed, agility, flexibility, and dexterity are more important than ever.
Social media has also had an enormous impact on leaders as well, Dool said, because “there has never been a time in our history with so much scrutiny driven by the rise of social media and the multiplicity of outlets. Leaders no longer have private moments, everything they do and say is watched, analyzed, and judged. This demands a level of consistency that seems to be hard for some leaders to achieve. They must be consistent in attitude, values, tone, words, actions, and behaviors.”
Leaders today are also facing two other significant challenges, Dool said. “One is the need to juggle a growing series of paradoxical demands (do more with less; cut costs but innovate; think globally, act locally). The other is the unprecedented pace of ‘disruptive change,’ which speeds up the interaction of these demands and simultaneously increases the pressure on organizations to adapt.”
How can leaders understand and prioritize all that is required of them, and learn to adapt in order to be effective? They can begin by focusing their efforts on authentically developing the 10 competencies the book highlights. These are,
Leader as a:
- Change Agent
- Talent Manager
- Coach and Mentor
While Dool explained that he and his co-authors are not taking the position that their list is “THE” ultimate set or even an exhaustive inventory, they do, however, offer them as a foundation that global leaders can use to establish their leadership brand and enhance their leadership practices.
Dool also noted while it may be not reasonable for anyone leader to be equally adept at each of these 10 competencies, he said, “the reality of today’s macro-environment demands a level of competency in each of them.”
There is no magic formula to develop leadership skills because leadership is often both contextual and situational, Dool said there are some characteristics that unite the most competent and inspiring leaders. “The best leaders deploy their competencies in a tailored manner leveraging their strengths and complimenting their lesser skills. They are always striving to learn from others and to build up their resiliency, and they also have a reasonably accurate self-assessment. They confront their own competencies through assessments, self-reflection, and feedback. They seek out what they need to hear versus want to hear. They invest in their own development and surround themselves with others who may complement their competencies. They seek feedback, listen, reflect, and adapt as needed,” Dool said.
Dool added that in the midst of so much uncertainty and heightened tensions, it is also more important than ever that leaders focus on the elements that engage workers: open, transparent, and active communication, an inclusive organizational culture, and principled leadership.
Describing the book’s journey on the way to publication, Dool said he decided that working on the book would be a good learning process for the students in one of his Master of Communication and Media classes at SC&I. Dool’s idea was to “crowdsource” the book to include the perspectives of his 15 MCM student co-authors. Together they conducted research, participated in many discussions, and interviewed more than 30 current leaders to develop the ten competencies.
“Our MCM class brainstormed the book concept, topics and the overall tone and approach. We divided the tasks among Strategy, Editorial, Creative, Research, and Content teams with two or three of us collectively authoring each chapter. The result is this compendium of ten leadership competencies, which we proposed for consideration for leading in the 21st Century,” Dool said.
The book had its genesis during the years that Dool was an executive with General Electric. “General Electric has long been acclaimed for its leadership development,” Dool said. “GE conducted a multi-year study to update and refresh the leadership competencies needed to be effective in this century. I was lucky enough to be at GE during this transition and I also attended two senior executive-level leadership development programs. From these courses and my time helping embed the new GE competencies in my own global teams at GE, I became intrigued about the competencies needed to effectively lead in the 21st Century. I have spent the last few years thinking, researching, and asking what is needed.”