3 Critical Leadership Style Transitions

It’s no longer enough just to give a person a job and to tell them what to do. People want to participate. They want to discuss their jobs. They want regular feedback on their performance. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?” and “How am I making a difference?”

Leadership success is benchmarked in different ways now. Agile leaders recognize this trend, but not all leaders subscribe to the new approach — not yet, anyway. Those who don’t could suffer anything from sub-par employee performance to a flattening of sales, a demotion, or worse yet, being fired!

Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup says:

“Call an executive committee meeting and commit to transforming your workplace from old command-and-control to one of high development and ongoing coaching conversations. Dive in — don’t put your toe in. You can afford a lot of mistakes and even failures because the system you currently use doesn’t work anyway.”

Clearly there is no staying with the status quo.

Here are 3 simple Old Way vs New Style leadership transitions you can implement immediately:

1. Up-ending the “It was all me” mindset – to sharing success with your team

Old: In days of old, results, good or bad, were attributed to managers and leaders in the top-down recognition model. In other words, individual leaders were the only people recognized when success occurred. Leaders “hoarded” the limelight and accolades.

New: There's much more emphasis on team building and empowering team members to do their best work. Recognition for jobs well done are actively attributed to the team member(s) responsible – and in a timely fashion, often publicly. When empowerment, trust and confidence are used to anchor the company culture, results can be extraordinary.

2. The leader as an island – to leading others to lead

Old: All roads lead to me (boss). The buck starts and stops here. Nothing happens without my say-so. Nobody makes a move without my approval.

Often the wrong (old) leadership mindset creates the tightest bottleneck or constraints.

New: In their book, Competing for the Future, Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad asked a key question, “What core competencies in skill and execution will you have to have in five years to be a leader in your industry?” An answer was that every leader needs to instill leadership qualities in all who report to them. Why? Because leaders simply can't do it all on their own. Every person on the team should be empowered to confidently lead their own piece of a project and take initiative in doing so, have pride and take ownership.

3. Putting the “Fear of God” into people – to creating a culture of empowerment

Old: Old guard leadership tenets saw leaders as the all-knowing super-humans who had an answer for every problem. They were always right, were never to be challenged, practised the my-way-or-the-highway doctrine, ordered their team members to comply, and used humiliation and reprimands to keep employees in line.

New: The progressive leaders of today need to view themselves as a catalyst for creating the most dynamic and committed team of individuals they can. Only the best truly understand it's necessary to get both input and action from others to fully leverage their leadership positions as well as the talents and energies of their team members.

Creativity, confidence in taking calculated risks, forward-thinking, and synergy are what materialize when leaders do everything to help their team shine; the whole always being greater than the sum of the parts.

In summary, good leaders are those who make employees feel valuable and important. They take a genuine interest in helping people positively contribute to the organization and push the company forward. In doing so, they add huge value to their role as leader. What’s not to like? Check out FocalPoint's Navigational Coaching here.


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