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Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Business, Culture, Engagement, Featured, Inspirational, Leadership | 1 comment

An All-Call for a New Style of Leadership

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Over the past 10 years, the world has changed dramatically. The enormous increases in globalization and in technology, the power of “social media” to upend everything from buying behavior to political campaigns, the explosion of information resulting in increased customer knowledge and expectations are just some of the significant developments that forever changed the way we conduct business. Why then are managers puzzled by employees who are highly motivated outside of work but show little initiative on the job; people who put in the time but no energy; people who spend more time on their resumes than on the activities at hand. A management style that produces these results obviously won’t be enough to compete in today’s global economy, especially given changes taking place in the attitudes of workers today.

It’s time for a new style of leadership. Today’s employees want to work for an organization that they can feel proud of: an organization that has values and viewpoints compatible with their own; an organization that is oriented toward the long haul, working toward the prevention of ills, not just curing the symptoms; an organization that cares about morals and ethics, doing what is in the best interests of its customers; and an organization that cares about the impact it has on the environment. Employees want this because they recognize that such an organization will also care about them.

Today’s employees want to work for an organization that they can feel proud of: an organization that has values and viewpoints compatible with their own.

This new breed of employees knows that the kind of organization just described conducts a never-ending search for the best and brightest people; that it encourages managers to develop their people both personally and professionally; that it recognizes and rewards employees for their unique contributions; that it delegates responsibility not just accountability. They want to work for a company where they are encouraged to make a meaningful contribution; where procedures, policies, and paperwork are never more important than results; and where building bonds between people is considered as important as the bottom line. How do we get there, you ask?

It’s time for a new style of leadership. Workers do not respond well to micromanagement or to being treated like cogs in a wheel. In order to increase workforce productivity, management has learned various theories, techniques, and approaches that are believed to motivate employees. But they are all based on the fundamental premise that it is management’s role to do the motivating–– that is, it is up to management to push employees toward certain behaviors or to control them in a certain way. Management can reward employees by giving them a promotion, a raise, or a pat on the back; they can reprimand, discipline, or fire them; they can create rules and procedures that give selected individuals the authority to make decisions over a minimum threshold. Or, managers can earn the respect of their colleagues through their expertise, their personal integrity, and their ability to foster trust. While reward, punishment, and authority come with an individual’s position, the most effective forms of management––respect, expertise, and trust—reside in the person and are earned over time.

They are encouraged to make a meaningful contribution; where procedures, policies, and paperwork are never more important than results; and where building bonds between people is considered as important as the bottom line.

Successful leaders know that today’s motivational techniques may satisfy employees only long enough to achieve short-term goals. If you supplement today’s forms of employee motivation by instilling a belief in your organization’s mission and stress the importance of every employee’s contribution, you bring about commitment that motivates people forever. The question is, “Is it possible to create this kind of environment and strive for market leadership?” The answer is, “You don’t have much of a choice.”

 

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Copyright: aleksander1 / 123RF Stock Photo

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Frank Sonnenberg Online, and has been republished with permission.

 

Frank Sonnenberg

Frank Sonnenberg has written four books and published over 300 articles. • Trust Across America named Sonnenberg one of America's Top 100 Thought Leaders of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 • Sonnenberg was nominated as one of America's Most Influential Small Business Experts of 2012 • In 2011, Social Media Marketing Magazine (SMM) selected Sonnenberg as one of the top marketing authors in the world on Twitter. Managing with a Conscience (2nd edition) was selected as one of the top 10 Small Business Books of 2012.

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  • Isabela Gasparini

    This article reminds me of a talk given by Daniel Pink when he passionately articulates that the challenge with Leadership is a technology issue. Intriguing… But it makes perfect sense when he establishes that “management” is an 18th century technology, used today. He goes further to identify that the 3 main predictors of employee engagement are: Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery. As I continue to devour books and blogs on Leadership, EE Engagement, EQ, etc. this concept, for its clarity and simplicity is always well received and validated by all groups I have the privilege to speak to.

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