Today's leaders are faced with the challenges of the twenty-first century which mainly originate from a fast globalising world. Globalisation has led to businesses and governments entering a new stage that requires a new set of skills to run organisations and governments successfully. The fast growth of the social media industry, for instance, has led to the need to have social media savvy leaders as evidenced by the United States President Donald Trump whose appetite for communication via the social media exceeds that of other world leaders (Ott, 2017). The 21st century has seen the US workplace change drastically with a sharp shift in the ethnic composition of workers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 and the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts, the balance of American workers is shifting from the white majority to a mixed-race workplace as other races continue to record high numbers of persons entering the U.S. job market.
This research by these two agencies found that the rate of the Asian Americans entering the job market is expected to grow by 44%, Hispanics/Latin-Americans by 36%, and African-Americans by 21% while the whites will increase by 9% (Groves & Feyerherm, 2011). The research found that that by 2050, the currently dominant white majority workers will only account for 50% of the U.S. workforce with the rest being considered for by the current minor races. In terms f representation, the Hispanic-Latino workers will account for 24% of the total U.S. population while the Asian-American community will double to 8%. Similarly, the African American population will increase to 13% (Groves & Feyerherm, 2011).
Technology advancement has been a breakthrough in the 21st century. Development of technologically advanced machines and software has seen operations and processes streamlined, and efficiency improved leading to better organisational performance. Businesses have pursued automation and cost-cutting measures which are only possible through simplifying processes. Organisations and governments require leaders who are unwilling with cultural diversity at the workplace. General Montgomery described leaders as persons who can rally men and women to work towards the achievement of a common cause through inspiration (Hunter, 2016). Great leaders of today need to have the capacity to mobilise workers from diverse culture to work towards attaining organisational goals. Further, they need to lead their workers in embracing technology and the benefits that come with it such as streamlining the processes of the organisations.
The information communication technology (ICT) industry is at the centre of the technological revolution taking place in the world. The ICT industry is responsible for the growth in computer applications ranging from health care and education to entertainment and manufacturing. Internet-based organisations have been the greatest beneficiaries of the technological revolution. Reaching from Yahoo and Google to Facebook and YouTube, internet-based companies have mushroomed in all parts of the world and have made a permanent mark on our lives. From my information technology background, I can give an unqualified projection that this industry, in conjunction with other disciplines such as the engineering discipline, has contributed significantly to globalisation.
One of my all-time greatest leaders in today's world is Richard Mills, the founder and CEO of Synoptic Systems Incorporated, a software and computing startup based in Silicon Valley, California. Richard Mills doubles as my boss as I work at Synoptic Systems Inc. Among the current crop of leaders, I aspire to be like Richard Mills for he has been successful in his running of the Synoptic Systems Inc. and has set the bar high for the startups in the IT industry. Currently, Synoptic Systems Inc. is ranked as number six among the IT startups in the United States due to its active management, adequate transparency, a high performance by the employees, contribution in the IT industry and ability to attract and retain customers.
Upon graduating with a degree in Computer Science at the nearby Stanford University in Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, California, Richard Mills went where the revolution of internet-based companies all began, Silicon Valley. Fresh from college, Mills had plenty of business ideas to pursue and ended up continuing software development, a choice he insists was the wisest decision he made in his life. With his little savings and loans from a micro-lending institution, Richard opened a small startup in the middle of Silicon Valley and hoped that it would last the first five years; the most significant test for U.S. startups. With only two assistants, Synoptic Systems Inc. was ready to compete with the giant software developers in Silicon Valley. The biggest challenge was to find the clients, as Richard explains it, he waited for the first client for one week. He had informed a few friends and small businesses of his startup, but none showed up during the first week, a fact that he says felt terrible at first but has taught him to be patient. However, things changed on that cold Saturday evening when the first client visited Richard. That became the beginning of the ascent of Synoptic Systems Inc. as it has seen thousands of clients flock their offices to seek various services. Richard has overseen the growth of this startup over the last five years from an unknown outlet to a small business with over fifty employees and twenty part-time employees. Richard has overseen the growth of this firm from a loss-making entity to a multi-million profit entity.
I chose Richard Mills as my greatest leader due to his problem-solving capabilities, the ability to bring people together to achieve a common cause and his ability to offer direction to the people. Above all, he can inspire people through his wise-selection of words while addressing the employees and leads by example, thereby influencing his employees positively. His greatest attribute is his desire to bring out the best of every employee, a fact that has seen the firm receive multiple teamwork awards. His ability to mentor his employees rather than criticise them has seen him create a strong bond with his employees; a fact that has resulted in improved performance by the firm.
To be a true leader, one has to not only possess but also implement the leadership qualities that separate leaders from managers. While managers oversee the day-to-day running of businesses and organisations, leaders mobilise employees to feel that they are at the heart of the operations of the firm and helps them contribute towards the growth of the firm to make it a better place for tomorrow generations. Richard is a visionary leader whose goal is to provide solutions to the 21st-century problems during the ongoing technological revolution.
One of the highest qualities possessed by Richard Mills is honesty and integrity. President Dwight Eisenhower described unquestionable integrity as the supreme quality of leadership responsible for the success of an organisation, whether a gang-related organisation on a multi-billion-dollar organisation. As a leader, Richard leads by example by guiding us on how we should carry ourselves while at the firm. For employees to be honest and have unquestionable integrity, they have to learn these attributes from their management. Richard's honesty is seen in his interaction with the employees where he shares with them whatever is in his mind without concealing relevant information from them. Like his employees, we have also learnt to be honest with the management as well as with our colleagues. This has created a culture of truthfulness around the organisation and helped improve the performance of the employees.
Confidence is another virtue I have learnt from Richard. As the CEO of Synoptic Systems Inc., Richard interacts with many people both at the management level and the junior level. He has taught me always to express myself without fear regardless of the positions held by my audience or the number of people listening to my presentation. Richard has graced several high-profile gatherings such as the United Nations Economic Forum and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to share his opinions with the rest of the world. Being his assistant and mentee, he often takes me with him to these events. He has helped me grow my confidence both as a leader and at a personal level.
Richard leads through inspiration. Richard mobilises his employees to follow him by appealing to their senses and showing them the benefits of pursuing a particular goal. He drives through his actions, by taking the path he requests his employees to make, and as his employees, we follow in his footsteps. To ensure that we are at the same level, he keeps us motivated by offering a conducive working environment, helping us solve our work-related problems as well as family-related issues and offering monetary rewards. He makes us dream more and become more, hence he is a leader.
Effective communication is another important attribute of a great leader. Effective communication refers to communicating the vision and mission of the firm to the employees and associates as well as passing guidelines on how to achieve the objectives of the firm during the day-to-day activities of the firm. Richard always begins by sharing the goals and objectives of the particular project being carried out, passes all the relevant information to the parties involved, and gives room for vertical and horizontal communication pertinent to the accomplishment of the project.
Decision-making is central to the success of a startup. For a business to succeed, the entrepreneur has to make a series of wise decisions that lead the business on the development path. Richard is a good decision-maker who consults widely and broadly. He listens to the workers before making decisions as he understands that it is the workers who do the tasks. Hence, their contribution is essential. This helps create a sense of ownership for the workers who feel valued, important and central to the operations of the firm.
Creativity and innovativeness are what separates Richard from other managers. Synoptic Systems Inc. has grown thanks to the creativity and innovativeness of the CEO, Richard Mills exponentially. In one of the meetings, Richard gave a lecture at Stanford University titled, "Innovation Distinguishes Between A Leader and A Follower." According to Richard, if you have to be a leader, you must be creative and innovative to stand out from the crowd. Richard encourages innovation at every stage. For instance, he encourages the development of more security features for every software developed at the firm. This gives synoptic systems software a cutting edge over the other software.
Richard Mills did not just wake up one day and decided to become a software developer. Both personal and environmental factors influenced Mills choice of career. Richard was born in the California capital, Sacramento, to laboratory technician father and a nurse mother. During his early years, he moved around the state with his parents, first moving to Los Angeles and later to San Francisco Bay Area where he spent the better part of his teenage years. During the time, computers were gaining popularity among large companies, but their intake in small businesses was prohibited mainly by the knowledge gap for users, the high cost of premium software and short lifespan of technology.
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