Outdated Leadership: The face of the business and workplace environment has changed drastically over the past decade, thanks to aggressive tech advances. Even more of these transitions have happened during and post the pandemic period.
Despite the changing world around us, we all are vulnerable to blind spots in how we work or run our affairs. Those of us in business have to be wary. Blind spots can easily lead to stagnation, even as we work tirelessly with the best intentions. As a leadership and business coach, it is my job to help you identify areas of improvement.
So, today I have a list of outdated leadership practices that may be stifling your business growth.
Here is what to shake up if you still rely upon these practices in 2023.
Hierarchical leadership once worked with a clearly defined chain of command, but as the workforce changes, so do the behavior and perceptions.
Organizations with highly structured environments and clear differences between low-level and high-level employees kill innovation. There is less collaboration in departments and across status levels. As a result, the business can’t utilize the employees’ full potential to innovate and problem-solve.
Some companies may invite opportunities for employees to share ideas and ditch the chains of command but still hold on to status symbols. These can just as easily alienate different employees. Think dress code, office layouts, and even titles.
One way to deal with this is to provide greater responsibilities to lower-level employees occasionally- for instance, as team leaders on projects. Relaxing the dress code and reorganizing office layouts are also shake-ups to consider.
Traditional Work Hours
Remote or in-office work. After the pandemic, the discussion heated on whether businesses should continue to allow employees to work from home and log work hours as tradition demanded.
Work has already changed, and companies that embrace a hybrid approach benefit more from the modern practices of flexible work hours.
With this, a new business doesn’t have to only rely on someone local for a job. That means faster delivery timelines and competitive prices.
Traditional Company Career Ladder
Traditional leadership prioritizes tenure or time with the company as a factor for promotion.
Yet the growing new workforce of generation Z and millennials prioritize new experiences over time in one organization or field.
A business that continues to operate under the old loyalty and tenure contract risks losing talent and creativity- the workforce moves toward a new social contract where security and benefits are less of incentives. Instead the current workforce is eager for roles with new experiences and flexibility.
(Relying on) Annual Reviews for Performance Evaluation
The old leadership relies on end-of-year reviews and monetary bonus rewards. While these worked, they only focused on competency and stacked ranking at the expense of the employees’ impact and growth in the company.
The military-style evaluation leaves employees with low scores demotivated and looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Companies have shifted away from hours and in-person presence as productivity measures, instead focusing on task completion. It has changed the way success is evaluated and opened up opportunities for previously untenable flexible working arrangements that prioritize output over attendance times.
Not to mention more employees prefer regular feedback from their leaders. 85% of millennials would feel more confident in their positions if they had more frequent performance reviews with their employers, according to research by TriNet.
Today many aspects of the business are fast-paced; reviews and feedback should also be ongoing. Regular evaluation of work brings in the concept of coaching and not managing.
Pressure to Deliver Short-Term Results
Working to meet deadlines is a must, especially with clients. But frequent time-intensive deadlines are a creativity killer.
An overemphasis on immediate objectives can blur employees’ view of the company’s long-term strategy and big picture. In such environments, employees prioritize quick solutions and completing tasks while leaving untapped potential in its wake.
It is up to management teams and HR departments alike to ensure that everyone understands the importance of optimizing overall performance instead of merely seeking short term gains.
Fixing Problems Instead of Coaching
Managers focus on process and structure, ensuring a standardized way of doing things.
Coaching, on the other hand, is about building on employees strengths to help them perform at their peak. Taking charge of everything and jumping in to fix problems are outdated leadership style aspects that cripple teams.
To flourish and grow, it takes more than just being structured with your team members – true success comes from recognizing the place of coaching by enabling the team members to identify solutions for the challenges.
Modern leadership is about coaching and mentoring those you lead. That means you will spend at least 35-40% of time in this process.
The Bottom Line
Times have changed, and so has what effective leaders do to get results from their teams. Your business may stagnate if you are using these outdated leadership practices.
Keeping your eyes open to the changing world is essential for continued growth and success.
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