WHAT’S A LEADER TO DO ABOUT IT?
A senior executive who is struggling at work, David, con-stantly
feels overwhelmed and overworked. He has
been in a leadership role in his company for 15 years
and used to love coming to work every day. Now, David
dreads Monday morning.
So, what has changed? When asked for his perspective, David
said that the demands of the business have changed, his role
has changed and the business environment has dramatically
changed. It’s faster and more complex than ever before.
Many of us who have been working for more than 10 years
have noticed this shift. The new world of work is having a sig-nificant
impact on leadership. Why? In the “good old days,” a
top-down leadership approach was the norm. Our leadership
role models, like Donald Trump and Jack Welch, taught us that
it was okay to be autocratic, hierarchical and demanding.
However, part of this workplace shift is that “old school”
leadership is no longer working. A top-down approach is incon-gruous
with the culture that employees desire. People want their
leaders to be authentic. They want their leaders to care about
them. They expect their leaders to help them develop, learn and
grow. After all, our benchmark for an engaged workforce is no
longer GE, but rather people-centric cultures like Google.
These changing expectations for leaders are certainly desir-able.
But in reality, many leaders are finding it difficult to adapt.
After all, like David, they have been very successful for many
years leveraging an “old school” leadership style.
Unfortunately, what worked in the past is no longer enough.
It is no longer okay to focus on tasks and objectives and ignore
your people. It is no longer okay to be demanding and control-ling.
In the new world of work, leaders need to use a balanced
approach. They need to focus equally on executing their tasks
and managing their people. This is a critical success factor for ef-fective
leadership in 2014.
So, how can our swamped and often overworked leaders de-velop
a culture that ensures their team is happy and engaged?
By Vanessa Judelman
28 ❚ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL