Are the Leadership Styles of 20-30 Years Ago Effective Today?

This question comes from a caller who asked us to settle an argument he was having with his father-in-law regarding changing leadership styles settled. Our first point is that arguing with your father-in-law is probably a no-win proposition!  Our second point is that leadership styles that worked 30 years ago simply aren’t effective in today’s dynamic business environment.  We suggest you focus on the following:

1.   Lead with the Three E’s: Top down leadership just isn’t effective in today’s work environment.  Fancy titles and big corner offices don’t motivate many younger team members; they’re seeking significance in addition to success.  Consider leading them with the 3E’s:

* Evaluate: Use objective evaluation assessments to discover the real strengths of your team.

* Empower: Don’t waste time telling team members how to accomplish a task.  Give them the desired objective or outcome and empower them to use their strengths to accomplish the task the best way that works for them (provided it’s ethical and legal, of course).

* Engage:  Allow team members to self-select for projects and initiatives that really speak to them and best utilize their strengths.  Consider allowing them to spend 10-15% of their time working on their own projects or supporting community projects they are passionate about.

2.   The-Times-They-are-a-Changin’: The command and control leadership style of past generations, with its rigid “carrot and stick” reward/punishment system is being replaced by a more inspiring and encouraging leadership style.  Today’s workforce is more socially conscious, socially aware and serious about making in impact that isn’t always measured in dollars.

3.   You Shouldn’t Be the Smartest Person in the Room: Many leaders of yesteryear were always concerned with being recognized as the “smartest person in the room.”  No longer!  Today’s leader understands the need to engage those that are bolder and brighter to create enduring success.  In fact, you should strive to never be the smartest person in the room!

To learn more about today’s most effective leadership styles, please listen to the replay of our November 2012 Virtual Jam Session

Comments

  1. These are the same practices I employed 30 years ago to be an effective leader. They worked then, and they work now. I did have superiors at the time who practiced leadership by fear. It was ineffective then, and ineffective now. I don’t think it is so much the leadership style of the era, as it is the leadership style of the leader!

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