Ever wonder how you’re “aging” in your corporate environment? How do your employees see you as a leader?
You probably don’t want to consider yourself an “old-school” leader. To most, that makes it sound like you’re behind the times, inflexible, or stuck in a rut.
Most leaders I work with want to be seen as creative, supportive and innovative, and most of them are just that. Some people, though, might be sending the wrong signals that can turn off their employees.
The most successful leaders are adaptable, and able to flex with the changing times.
With today’s speed of business it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with all of the emerging trends and technology, not to mention the generational differences in the workforce.
Don’t think that sounds like you? Well, here’s a quick quiz to find out if you’re an “old school” leader!
You have to be honest with yourself. The results could surprise you when you see how you might be showing up to your employees.
True or False:
1. You find yourself saying things like, “We tried that before and it didn’t work” or “When I worked at…”
If you answered TRUE, it’s likely that you’re (unintentionally?) stifling creativity and innovation.
Some of the most dangerous words in the corporate world are “That’s the way it’s always been done.”
When you make decisions based on assumptions from the past you limit new possibilities.
2. To you, the new employees in your department look like they’re fresh out of junior high school, not college.
You’re experienced. You’ve established a pattern of success that’s tried and true. You trust yourself to get it done and do it right, but you’re just not if you can trust anyone else.
If you answered TRUE, you could be making judgments about their skills and abilities before they have time to show their stuff.
This mindset can affect decisions you make about their work ethic, the value of their ideas, or how much management they need or want. Sometimes a fresh perspective is the best way to solve problems!
3. You dislike or resist change like the Plague.
You’re pretty happy using a pen and paper. Just when you get comfortable with your phone, a system or new software solution, they seem to change it which takes you more time and effort. Why fix what’s not broken?
If this seems TRUE, you are in for a long road ahead. In today’s world, technology is king. You’ve probably heard the saying, “The only constant in this world is change.” When you resist change you risk stagnation.
4. Your definition of “open communication” is that your door is always open to employees. When they come with an issue, you’re ready with an answer.
Doesn’t sound so bad on the first pass, but if you said TRUE, you might be creating more work for yourself and disempowering your employees from finding their own solutions.
As I think we’ve already covered, your employees are smart. That might be why you (or someone on your team) hired them.
A better approach is to actively listen and ask questions that will help the employee decide how s/he could think about, feel, or act differently to get a better result.
When you focus your attention on the employee by listening and asking great questions, they’ll think you’re BRILLIANT, and they’ll appreciate the respect you demonstrated to them in the process.
The best learning is experiential, and your role as a leader is to empower and help grow your talent into tomorrow’s leaders!
5. In your opinion, you have to work long hours and weekends to be successful because working harder shows greater commitment.
If this is TRUE for you, you might be imposing your philosophy on others. The reality is that when people are engaged and focused on their work, they can accomplish A LOT in a short period of time.
I am all about helping leaders work smarter not harder! Assess how you’re truly spending your hours during the day. You might choose to make some changes and enjoy more of your “free time” too.