It’s the summer of ‘85 - Back To The Future is the biggest movie on the planet (by a landslide), while Tears for Fears, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran and Huey Lewis and the News all jostle for most weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. You walk out onto your bustling office floor filled with a sea of perms, jheri curls and mullets, frantically mashing away at their typewriters as they work through the skyscrapers of manual files they were assigned for the day. You smile to yourself and retreat back to your office content in the knowledge that everyone is doing what they were told to do, because if they don’t like it they can ffff…… forget about coming back to your office!
Fast forward 37 years and we find that there are STILL business leaders trying to manage in this fashion, oblivious to the fact that this outdated leadership style won’t work anymore. In the 80’s, you could hire a bunch of people, assign them tasks and they would follow orders. They wouldn’t ask questions and some didn’t really care why they were doing what they were doing. You could tell your employees to break rocks all day, everyday and they would do it.
That was back then.
Today’s leader must engage employees with the vision, mission and goals of the organization because we live in a different world than we did 40 years ago. People are looking for challenging opportunities, growth, and engaging work environments in which they can thrive. Employees want to feel valued as individuals. They want to be listened to when they have an idea or a problem. They want to be trusted, given a choice in how their job gets done, and more responsibility for their role at the company.
The benefits of engaging employees are well documented:
- higher employee satisfaction
- lower turnover and absenteeism
- reduced stress levels
- improved communication skills
are just some examples.
Autocratic and dictatorial managers feel the need to be in control at all times. They want the final say on everything, they don’t trust others to make decisions without their approval, and they communicate with their team mostly through orders. These leaders can also tend towards an egotistical style of leadership where they’re above their employees and they know best because they’re “the boss”. This kind of management style is no longer sustainable in today’s workplace. In order for your business to be successful, you need to lead your team through motivation, engagement and empowerment.
Perhaps you’re wondering why you can’t get people to follow your direction. The old-school approach you’ve been using doesn’t work anymore—not with the new generation of workers, who are used to a more collaborative and flexible workplace. The old-school approach is based on a top-down, hierarchical model that assumes that workers are lazy and need to be told what to do. But if you have people who are recruited because they already have the skills and competencies required for the job, then perhaps they don’t need to be led in this way at all…?
Newer ways of thinking about management devote themselves to a higher purpose of creating profit for shareholders AND great workplaces for people. The new way of doing business is about creating a healthy workplace culture because in today’s world, a healthy workplace culture is vital. To be clear, we’re talking about the way that your company behaves and the way that you work together. It’s what makes employees feel at home, productive and fulfilled in their roles. A healthy culture is one that supports your company’s vision, mission and goals. Think of it as the cornerstone of your foundation.
When employees understand what you expect from them and why, they will be able to work more productively and effectively without the need for micromanaging. Using a business optimization platform like Bramble can help you jump over this hurdle by providing you with a tool that your organization can use to increase its capability, whilst promoting employee agency. Not only will you be investing in yourself and your team, but ultimately the success of your company.