Unlearn what we have learned about management and leadership…
We need to unlearn what we’ve learned about management and leadership. Over the years, managers have been educated to think, act and behave in certain ways. Traditional approaches to management taught the need to:
- project authority through command and control;
- give our employees clear instructions and tell them what to do;
- not show any emotion or vulnerability when we are managing;
- make decisions in a top-down way;
- treat employees as any other resource needed to get the job done;
- have lots of rules and controls in place to keep order in our teams;
- see our relationship with employees in purely contractual terms;
- believe that penalties or sanctions can motivate employees to perform better.
If we are going to manage and lead our teams successfully in the future we’re going to need to challenge the prevailing norms which derived from an era of hierarchical structure and organisation of work. We’ll need to think differently about our relationships with our employees. The successful workplaces of the future will be characterised by employees connecting with a higher sense of purpose, collaborative decision-making, remote and flexible working, a blurring of the boundaries between home life and work life, authentic empowerment, and encouragement of risk-taking and innovation.
Learning to unlearn is never easy, we are creatures of habit and can easily get stuck in our ways. With the landscape of our workplaces changing so rapidly, this may be one of the most important things we do in order to equip and lead our organisations in such volatile and turbulent times.