I. The Hierarchical Management Style will be inadequate for future days
Since the beginning of industrialization, managers have had the primary task of increasing production and demanding top performance from their employees. What was needed was a purely performance-oriented management style. An employee-oriented management style, on the other hand, was the exception. For decades, most companies practised a working method that led to a strong performance culture. The predominant management style is therefore still based on a strict hierarchy model with a top-down leadership approach.
But the world of work has changed a lot in recent years. Restructuring within companies and cost-saving models are intended to make companies fit for the future. Virtual cooperation with international teams at different locations and from different cultures has become commonplace. But as important and welcome as digital change is, it presents managers and employees with great, often unpredictable challenges. In addition, after many years of relatively reliable predictability, the political situation at a national and international level has become more unstable and often difficult to assess. This means that managers and employees are often reaching their limits. Everyday corporate life and the working atmosphere are increasingly characterized by uncertainty and stress. The traditional tasks of managers to assign and distribute work are no longer enough to keep companies competitive. The old, hierarchical management style does not reach far enough.
But what is the alternative?
In order to find an answer to this question, today’s managers must ask themselves three questions: Are they in a position to lead and support their employees even in unstable times? How can they build trust across multiple continents via email and video calls? And how can a hierarchical leadership generation work with millennials who categorically reject a hierarchical way of leading? The digital and political change shows more and more clearly that the leadership style of employee orientation, which has been largely neglected so far, is precisely the one that can decisively influence the future viability of a company.
Because machines, systems and capacity utilization are no longer reaching their limits – it is man himself who comes to his limits and must define his possibilities anew. The gap that the hierarchical, distanced leadership style has created over decades between leaders and employees can only be closed through transparency and more closeness.
My seminar and book “Unlearning Hierarchy – Learning Transparency” with the 6 Leadership Competencies will help to close this gap. Leaders in search of orientation and support on this new journey will find approaches for a new, future-oriented way of thinking as well as suggestions on how this can be implemented in the sense of more Transparent Leadership.
The 6 Leadership Competencies
1. Put Employees First
New mindset: my employees are the most important thing on which I can build my success. Personal consequence: not to want to take the first place myself.
2. Let Employees Win
New mindset: my investment is first and foremost for the employees, their development and career. Personal consequence: no focus on personal advantages, profit and recognition.
3. Communicate with Empathy
New mindset: treat my employees with respectful and appreciative communication. Personal consequence: Do not use a tone of command or dogmatism in discussions or decisions.
4. Show Transparency
New mindset: I want to share the most important information and thoughts with my employees. Personal consequence: not to keep too great a distance from employees or even to withhold important information.
5. Build Trust
New mindset: my employees need clarity about my values, intentions and promises. Personal consequence: Never deny my values and never break my promises.
6. Create Emotional Safety
New mindset: my employees need my support and protection – even in conflicts. Personal consequence: not to neglect the employees or be (emotionally) inaccessible to them.
Some of the following articles will be released soon:
- Hierarchical Leadership increases performance, however demotivates employees
- It is not easy for a manager to truly abandon hierarchical leadership
- A company is controlled by both structure and culture
- In future, we will need managers not only to manage, but to truly lead their people
Rob G. M. Bots
TrustConsulting.eu | Senior Management Trainer | Executive Coach